As Their Principal Retires, Catholic Academy Thrives With Waiting Lists

Tags: Currents, Brooklyn, NY, Catholic Academy, Catholic Education, Diocese of Brooklyn, Teachers

By Tim Harfmann

For the last 17 years, Kathleen Buscemi has been the principal at Saint Bernard Catholic Academy in Bergen Beach, Brooklyn. The school is thriving and there’s a waiting list of students who want to get into the classrooms.

She’s retiring after dedicating 45 years to Catholic education, all the while, impacting thousands of lives.

“I say all the time that we’re a family, and we are truly a family,” said Buscemi.

Buscemi established over 30 extracurricular activities for children and invested in technology in the classrooms, all combined with a faith-based education.

“They teach the children to read, write, and do math the old-fashioned way the same as we do; but we offer that something extra,” she said.

On June 13, students, teachers, and parents honored her during a tearful farewell ceremony.

The kids presented her with several gifts, from letters written by every student, to her own street sign, “Buscemi’s Way.”

Eighth grader Sienna Skye Mastroviti explained why the principal is so loved.

“She did everything she could for us. She helped us. She looked out for us. She guided me, and I know I wouldn’t be who I am today without her,” said Mastroviti.

Catholic education is important to Buscemi, and going forward she’s going to mentor new Catholic school principals.

Monsignor Joseph Grimaldi, the pastor of Saint Bernard parish, said, “She has always been that beckon of hope, that beckon of bringing the good news of salvation through the witness of her life, to teach our Catholic principles and our Catholic morals faithfully each day, day in and day

out.”

And she did so with great success.