BATAVIA – Throughout the process of becoming the new principal at Notre Dame High School, longtime educator Wade J. Bianco said he has been overwhelmed by the “passion and pride” of the private Catholic institution’s students, faculty and alumni.
Bianco, the assistant principal at Irondequoit High School since 1992, was selected to replace Dr. Joseph D. Scanlan, who is retiring after 43 years in education, including the last 11 as Notre Dame principal.
“The amount of passion and pride that the people who went there and still are there is second to none,” said Bianco, a Long Island native who has lived in Batavia since 1978. “They have such dedication – never forgetting the way the school has served them and wishing to continue serving the school.”
Bianco, 59, begins his new job on July 1. He will be going from a school with more than 700 students to one with 166 students in grades nine through 12. It may be small in numbers, but has huge plans and goals, he said.
“For a school that graduates 42 kids, it has raised nearly $4 million so far through its capital campaign,” Bianco said. “They’re moving right along. I just want to dive in and see if I can help them progress to where they want to go.
“I believe that my expertise in team building and my experience will help them get to the next place.”
John Borrelli, president of Notre Dame’s board of trustees, said Bianco is “the perfect fit at the right time.”
“We had 21 potential candidates for the job and interviewed 10 people. We then had a private meet-and-greet with faculty, selected parents and administration for the final two candidates. Every step of the way, Wade stood out,” Borrelli said.
Notre Dame is consistently ranked among the top schools in Western New York by Buffalo Business First. For eight straight years, it has been rated the No. 1 secondary school in Genesee, Wyoming and Orleans counties, and the No. 1 private Catholic coeducational high school.
Its $5 million “Faith in the Future” capital campaign includes a $1 million technology initiative and funding for renovations of its Union Street campus and its endowment program.
Tuition is about $8,500 per year, with aid available on an as-needed basis.
Bianco said this year’s graduates earned $2.5 million in scholarships from the colleges they will be attending.
“When they graduate, they are accessing a lot of scholarship money and are entering college with a semester or two already done because of the accelerated courses and college credit they’re getting in high school.”
While at Irondequoit, Bianco focused on teacher recruitment and professional development programs, and assisted with curriculum review and updates.
He and his wife, Darlene, attend Ascension Parish in Batavia. Their son, John, attends law school in South Carolina.
Bianco said he is looking forward to helping out with the Notre Dame football team (he was the head football coach at Irondequoit from 1989-2013) and to having a much shorter commute to school.
“I really didn’t want to retire, but I was tired of driving 84 miles a day,” he said. “Now, I drive past nine houses, turn right, and then past three houses and I’m there.”