New President Named At St. Mary

Dr. Joseph R. McCleary

The Schools of St. Mary have announced the appointment of Dr. Joseph R. McCleary as the new president. McCleary will commence his responsibilities of the office beginning Sept. 1.

After a comprehensive search, it was evident to the entire Search Committee that McCleary was the obvious choice to be the academic, community and visionary leader for The Schools of St. Mary. He brings more than 30 years of leadership experience in both public and private school settings to St. Mary’s with positions ranging from the headmaster to president.

“My philosophy of education is rooted in the premise that young people flourish best in schools that provide a culture and climate focused on character and intellect, where each person is known and cared for as an individual, and ideally where the grace of the sacraments, opportunities for service, formation in Christian Doctrine and prayer are available to all,” said McCleary.

He spent more than 20 years in Catholic schools teaching and leading and is the product of the very same education he prides himself in bringing to the next generation of students. He attended a parochial elementary school, Catholic high school and received his PhD in English from The Catholic University of America. McCleary also holds an M.A. in English from Georgetown University and a B.A. in English from Towson University.

McCleary’s career achievements include the superintendent of the Mystic Valley Regional Charter School, managing three campuses with 10 buildings and 1,450 kindergarten through 12th grade students across six towns, which led to national rankings in Newsweek, U.S. News & World Report and The Washington Post for six consecutive years. He was the founding director of the first international college preparatory charter school in Lowell, MA, where enrollment realized a 30 percent increase and received 94 percent in parent satisfaction ratings. He is a published author and invited presenter in northeastern academia and has received multiple awards and fellowships spanning his career.

McCleary joins St. Mary’s from the Advanced Math and Science Academy Charter School in Marlborough, MA, where he served as executive director overseeing faculty, staff and 970 students in grades 6 through 12. He led the school to a number one ranking in Boston Magazine in 2016.

McCleary noted, “I’m delighted and grateful to be taking on the role of president of The Schools of St. Mary, and I look forward to working together with everyone in the noble endeavor of education.”

“The history of initiatives set forward and executed by McCleary for academic standards, curriculum, enrollment and development during his career is exemplary and speaks volumes about the work ahead of us in sustaining the future of The Schools of St. Mary. I am very eager to begin this new journey with McCleary as our president and witnessing the continued positive growth and strength of our community. I am confident that our students will continue to flourish under his tenure and our faculty will reach new heights in educating our children,” said Rev. Fr. Robert A. Romeo, pastor of the Church of St. Mary.

McCleary succeeds Grace M. Cavallo, who passionately served as the inaugural president of The Schools of St. Mary from 2010 until her retirement at the conclusion of the 2017 school year.

An installation mass and reception will be held in McCleary’s honor on Sunday, Oct. 22, at 12 p.m. in the Church of St. Mary.

The Schools of St. Mary serve 900 students in nursery through grade 12. St. Mary’s provides a continuum of education by offering programs and advanced curriculum with cutting-edge technology that prepares St. Mary’s Elementary School students for the natural progression to St. Mary’s High School.

To learn more, visit or call 516-627-0385.

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