BRANDYWINE HUNDRED — For Tina Morroni, becoming the principal at Immaculate Heart of Mary represents a homecoming of sorts.
“I am a product of Catholic school but worked all of my career in public school. I learned a ton and valued every lesson I learned over those 23 years, but it was time to kind of come home to a Catholic school setting,” Morroni said recently in her office at IHM.
She arrived in north Wilmington after three and half years as a middle-school principal in the Woodbridge School District in western Sussex County. Her administrative experience goes back quite a bit longer than that. She taught for 13 years in the Baltimore area and spent the last 10 years in Woodbridge.
Morroni spent most of the summer at the school, getting to know the pastor, Father Bob Wozniak, and her staff. She also had to fill a number of openings. Everyone’s been very supportive, she said.
One of the things she’s looking forward to is working in an environment where faith is an important part of the school. Morroni is a product of Catholic education, including St. Vincent Pallotti High School in the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C., Mount St. Mary’s University and Loyola University Maryland.
“I like being able to embed our Catholic faith into the education piece,” Morroni said. “Students need to have an opportunity to learn their faith, increase and grow their Catholic identity, along with strong academics and service to community.”
She’ll be doing a lot of watching during her first year, but Morroni said she has some ideas for making the school’s core values — faith, knowledge, community and service — more prominent.
“They really do guide the being of IHM,” she said.
One of the differences she sees at her new school is the level of parent involvement. She wants to “embrace parents being in the building and being so supportive of classroom initiatives and things that need to get done.
“Anything that we’ve asked or needed, there’s been a parent volunteer ready to step up and offer a hand, which is refreshing. At the end of the day, they want the best for their children, and they’re willing to help in any way possible.”
Morroni, 45, is studying for her doctorate at Widener University, the first alma mater she’ll have that is not a Catholic school, she noted. She lives near Lewes with her husband, Michael. They have a son who attends Sussex Technical High School, and a daughter who is a sophomore at Cedar Crest College in Allentown, Pa.
When she is not at IHM or making the commute, Morroni is a self-described “band mom” for Sussex Tech. She also likes doing craft work, and she made many of the furniture pieces in her office at the school. She also likes to put her toes in the sand at the beach.