HERMITAGE – For almost 40 years, Vincent Cardamon was manager at Reyers Shoe Store in Sharon, and he said it never felt like work.
He feels the same way about his post-retirement career at Kennedy Catholic Family of Schools.
The Shenango Valley Catholic School System Board and Roman Catholic Diocese of Erie appointed Cardamon acting president of the school system last week.
“I was thrilled when I got the call from a guy on the board,” Cardamon, 77, said. “This was always such a wonderful place for me to watch and see kids grow.”
Since retiring three months ago from Reyers, Cardamon’s said his toughest decision was choosing between sunblock 15 or 30 while sitting on his deck, but now he is making tough financial decisions for the school system.
Cardamon started the job Monday, replacing Rev. Jason Glover, who served as president for the past three years. In a letter to Kennedy parents, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Erie and school system board credited Glover’s work at the school under the direction of Bishop Lawrence T. Persico.
“He has been able to accomplish all that Bishop Persico originally asked of him during his three years as president,” the letter read. “His commitment was always driven by his love and fidelity to the school, including its students, families, faculty and staff and alumni. His enthusiasm and commitment to Catholic education will continue to have an impact on the Kennedy Catholic Family of Schools for years to come.”
Cardamon also praised Glover.
“Fr. Jason did a fine job. The bishop reassigned him because they’re running out of priests,” Cardamon said. “So they needed someone to plug in. It is primarily a business position. I will be involved in budget. I’ll be hiring and firing, the same as I did at Reyers. My hope is to find those people who want to feel the same way I do. I think the school thrives when everybody is on the same spiritual and emotional level. I think if you don’t bleed maroon and gold, then there’s a problem.”
Cardamon himself has bled those colors for several decades. As a parent of three Kennedy alumni and grandchildren at the high school and elementary school, he has been a familiar face around Kennedy.
Cardamon served on the KCHS President’s Advisory Board for 30 years. He has served as chairman of United Way of Mercer County board of directors and has been an active United Way member for 40 years. Cardamon also helped initiate the Mercer County School Business Partnership and has taught religious education at St. Joseph and Notre Dame parishes in the diocese.
“A major portion of my responsibility here as president is I have nothing to do with the academic side of the school, other than I love all the kids,” Cardamon said. “Part of my challenge is to make sure that we remain economically sound.”
Cardamon, who said he expects to be in the position for about a year during the search for a permanent president, said his vision for Kennedy is in line with the board’s mission.
“Christo Servire – to serve Christ – remains an integral part of the school’s mission,” Cardamon said. “I think what has helped to make (Kennedy) unique was represented best by students and what they took away from the school. If they went home happy and it was a special place to be, the parents understood the sacrifice of the investment.”
The board told parents that the school system is at a crossroads, and that they have done an incredible amount of behind-the-scenes work to strengthen the schools.
“Earlier this year, we announced a new initiative with Partners in Mission, and board members have been very impressed with the plan that has been mapped out for the coming months and years,” the board letter stated. “In fact, they already have seen results through a quiet phase of fundraising and new avenues to bolster enrollment.”
Through that letter, the board and diocese said they have every confidence that Cardamon will give the school system the stability and leadership needed as they look toward the future.
“I’ve always liked being involved up here in one way or another,” Cardamon said. “Hopefully, I can make some significant contribution.”
Follow Melissa Klaric on Twitter and Facebook @HeraldKlaric, email: firstname.lastname@example.org