Vince Romeo, the London Catholic District School Board’s new director of education.

Romeo at home with London Catholic school board

  • August 28, 2021

Vince Romeo, the London Catholic District School Board’s new director of education, has a connection to the southwestern Ontario city — and the board — that runs deep.

Born and raised in London, Romeo is a product of the system he has served for most of his professional life. He attended elementary and secondary school in the district and went on to study at King’s College University at London’s Western University as well. His family and his wife are all from the area and continue to live there. And as Romeo steps into his new role, his four-year-old daughter will begin her formal education journey at the kindergarten level within the board.

It’s those ties that Romeo says keep him close to the education system and passionate about ensuring students experience the best of what Catholic education has to offer.

“I think it’s pretty special that I get to start this role as a director of education in the same board where my daughter will be starting school,” said Romeo. “Both are blessings to be quite honest. I don’t know how much closer I can get to student learning and the student learning desk than that.” 

Romeo comes on board at this pivotal moment as more than 22,000 Catholic students prepare to head back into the classroom after two years of learning interrupted by the pandemic. Despite uncertainties around what a potential fourth wave of COVID-19 could look like, Romeo says educators are feeling comfortable with return to school preparations. Parents can expect a cautious return to in-person learning and a gradual return to some of the core faith-based rituals and activities.

“We are cautiously optimistic that this year will look more normal than the past year and a half has,” said the 44-year-old. “We’re entering with this feeling of hope that we can slowly return to what I think is very important in school and those are our school rituals, our liturgies and prayer services and some of the (other) things we weren’t able to do over the past year.” 

Education has always been a passion for Romeo. In 2002 after he finished teachers’ college, he began working at elementary schools in the London Catholic board. He moved on to roles as vice principal and principal and had the opportunity to work with the ministry of education for two years, collaborating with boards province-wide.

Romeo returned to London Catholic as a superintendent for the last five years where he used his experience as a student achievement officer to help inform instruction and priorities on the curriculum and program side of the organization. 

Having always worked in the elementary school system in his teaching days, he admits at times he longs to be back in the classroom. Now as a leader in the system, Romeo has committed to doing his best to ensure students are seen and heard and that educators are put in the best position to meet their students’ learning needs.

“I definitely miss the classroom,” said Romeo. “I think if you talk to anybody that either got into administration or senior administration, they would say the same thing. To me everything we do starts with students and student learning. I think as an organization what I will do in this role as director is ensure that we as a system are responsible to the learning needs that show up on the student desk. Our job is to respond to students, to listen to them first and to ensure their voices are heard.”

In addition to COVID-19 safety concerns, Romeo recognizes there are many other salient issues, including bridging any gaps caused by pandemic interruptions and addressing social issues in disparities plaguing society. Coming into this school year, educators will need to prioritize student well-being before looking for gaps in learning to ensure the foundation is healthy to meet learning objectives. 

“We don’t welcome kids back and immediately start testing,” said Romeo. “I think what we do is we monitor and measure their progress first, and I think we’ll slowly move our attention away from an emphasis on student engagement to then student improvement, to finally this idea of student achievement over the course of the first few weeks of school.

“By making the conscious effort of being a trusting adult in the school for students we emphasize student inclusion, psychological safety and then just this general idea that all students are welcomed back.”

As he focuses on a smooth transition back to in-person learning, as a parent and leader he remains confident in the Catholic faith and the board’s ability to meet the learning needs of students and families.

“I believe the foundation of faith formation, equity, inclusion and well-being will serve us well to welcome kids back into a learning experience in the fall,” said Romeo. “I think we have the ability to do that in a very hopeful way that celebrates everybody returning to school.”

Comments (0)

There are no comments posted here yet

Leave your comments

  1. Posting comment as a guest.
Attachments (0 / 3)
Share Your Location

Please support The Catholic Register

Unlike many media companies, The Catholic Register has never charged readers for access to the news and information on our website. We want to keep our award-winning journalism as widely available as possible. But we need your help.

For more than 125 years, The Register has been a trusted source of faith-based journalism. By making even a small donation you help ensure our future as an important voice in the Catholic Church. If you support the mission of Catholic journalism, please donate today. Thank you.