NEW CASTLE — When Carlo Testa had the chance to visit St. Peter the Apostle School in the past, he found it had a similar feel to St. Elizabeth School, where Testa was an administrator. So when the principal’s position opened up at St. Peter’s, Testa threw his hat into the ring, and he is busy getting ready for his first year in New Castle.
“It was clear that they have a really positive vibe, a positive community atmosphere. It was a place I could see myself from the first time I visited,” he said on a recent hot summer day.
Both St. Peter’s and St. Elizabeth are an important part of their communities, and they have a family feel, he said. Both schools are a source of pride for the families, alumni and neighborhoods.
“It’s anchored to the community. It had chords of things that were familiar to me from being a student at St. E. That made it kind of easy for me to understand the school and the community as a whole,” he said.
Testa, who grew up in the Pike Creek area, graduated from St. Elizabeth High School in 2002 before attending Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania. He has worked in education in four states as a teacher, curriculum coach, department chair and administrator. He spent the last year and a half at St. Elizabeth, first as an assistant principal, then last year as interim principal.
“You don’t usually get that chance to go back home, if you will, with that experience,” he said.
As he settles in at St. Peter the Apostle, Testa said his first goal is to listen to the faculty and families. There is not really a sense of urgency that one thing or another must be addressed immediately.
He wants to promote “team chemistry” among the group at the school.
He believes the students will appreciate starting a school year in as normal a manner as possible after parts of three years were affected by the coronavirus pandemic. That normalcy also will allow him more time to figure things out at St. Peter’s.
“For me, it’s kind of a take-inventory year. I’m listening to the staff and just kind of taking inventory of what we have,” he said.
Testa, who said he will not have any problems transitioning to the blue and gold of St. Peter the Apostle from St. Elizabeth’s maroon and gold, likes to do martial arts when he’s not at school. He added that, as a homeowner, there is always plenty to do around the house. He also likes movies, travel and music, and he enjoys reading, particularly about education.
“School has always been central to my life,” Testa said. “It’s not unusual to find me learning more about what I do.”