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EAST PROVIDENCE â€” Laureen Dâ€™Ambra, chairwoman of the Board of Trustees of Rhode Islandâ€™s 138-year-old St. Mary Academy-Bay View, has announced the appointment of Vittoria Pacifico-DeBenedictis as the school's new incoming president.
Pacifico-DeBenedictis, who will assume her new role on July 1, succeeds the first president of the academy, Elizabeth A. McAuliffe, who has held the position for the past 18 years.
â€śThe Board of Trustees and the Presidential Search Committee spent many long hours reviewing credentials and interviewing candidates. We are confident that the team now in place, led by Vittoria, is poised to continue Bay Viewâ€™s tradition of excellence in preparing girls and young women for success in all endeavors," said Dâ€™Ambra. "We look forward to welcoming and working with Vittoria.â€ť
A lifelong participant in Catholic education, Pacifico-DeBenedictis attended St. Clare High School, adn then went on to Regis College where she received her Bachelor of Arts degree.
She later she received her Masterâ€™s degree in school administration from Emmanuel College in Boston, and is currently a Doctoral candidate pursuing her degree at the University of Massachusetts Boston.
Described by D'Ambra as a "true collaborator and team builder," Pacifico-DeBenedictis has had a long career in education beginning as a middle school teacher at Our Lady of Czestochowa in South Boston, to her position as middle school teacher, vice principal, and finally acting principal at Lt. J.P. Kennedy Memorial Middle School in Hyde Park. As a result of her successful leadership at the Kennedy School, she was hired to lead St. Francis of Assisi School in Medford for several years, where she increased enrollment and was instrumental in opening the schoolâ€™s first science lab, instituted a world languages program and acquired grants.
She has been principal of St. Francis of Assisi School in Braintree for the past 11 years. During her tenure she increased enrollment, improved the school facility and campus, strengthened curriculum, added state-of-the-art technology, and led St. Francis of Assisi School through its first New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) accreditation with success and high accolades. Most importantly, she placed St. Francis of Assisi School at the top of the Archdiocese of Bostonâ€™s premier schools list.
Professionally, she has been involved with many organizations and boards, including but not limited to: a chairperson and speaker for NEASC accreditations and conferences, a member of the boards of Regis College, Malden Catholic High School, C.A.S.IT (Italian Consulate Educational Program), and currently Archbishop Williams High School. Her expertise also includes mentoring first year principals in the Archdiocese of Boston, serving as a member of the recruitment team for the Catholic Schools Foundation, as well as, a member of a team supporting the Superintendentâ€™s Office of the Archdiocese of Boston evaluating second year principals.
Pacifico-DeBenedictis is an adjunct professor at Regis College with several professional affiliations including ASCD, NAESP, and NCEA.
â€śAs the incoming president of Bay View Academy, I am excited to bring forth my energy and expertise to lead this prestigious school,â€ť she said. â€śI believe in preserving traditions, most especially the tradition of an all-girls Catholic education, and will strive to uphold the Sisters of Mercy foundation at Bay View.â€ť
Pacifico-DeBenedictis said he plan is to highlight the Academyâ€™s strengths while continuing to build upon them in collaboration with the entire Bay View community.
â€śIt is an honor to have been chosen for this position and to have been given the opportunity to move Bay View Academy as a school of excellence into the future,â€ť she said.
St. Mary Academy-Bay View is an independent Catholic School for girls open to all faiths, pre-kindergarten through Grade 12. In existence since 1874, Bay View endeavors to provide a quality education preparing girls and young women for the challenges of the global community. St. Mary Academyâ€“Bay View is a college preparatory school accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.