The Office of the Superintendent of Schools in the Archdiocese of New York issued the following statement today:
The Month of St. Joseph
“The Lord says, ‘I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you.” — Psalms 32:8
Dear Catholic Schools Community,
With a heavy but grateful heart, I share the following important news. Mrs. Zoilita M. Herrera will step down from her role as Regional Superintendent for the Catholic School Region of Staten Island at the close of the 2023 school year.
I could share much with you about Mrs. Herrera’s decades of outstanding service to Catholic education on Staten Island – the many positions she has held, the number of students she has impacted, and the numerous, well-deserved awards and accolades she has received. However, she will be the first to state that she is simply performing her responsibilities to the best of her abilities, supporting her principals, faculties, and staffs in serving the Staten Island families. Zoilita is a true Catholic educator and minister of our faith.
Those of us who have had the pleasure of working with Mrs. Herrera are well aware of the indelible mark she will leave on the Catholic educational landscape of Staten Island. Throughout her 44 years, she has been steadfast in her service as an educator in Assumption School on Staten Island, school leader at Assumption School and Sacred Heart School, and the first layperson appointed to the position of Staten Island District Superintendent. She has been recognized by the National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA), the Alumni Association of St. John’s University, the St. George Theater, the Staten Island Catholic Charities/Catholic Youth Organization, the United Activities Unlimited (UAU), and was the recipient of the first annual Monsignor Peter G. Finn Educator Award. She has met challenges gracefully and confidently, empowered her school leaders to demand the best for their communities, supported them in this sacred mission, and led with empathy and respect. During the COVID crisis, her unwavering presence bolstered her principals through the most challenging times. Like me, I am certain they are eternally grateful for all Mrs. Herrera has done.
I am confident that in the coming months there will be many tributes to Mrs. Herrera. However, none will speak as loudly as her illustrious decades of service to the Catholic elementary schools of Staten Island. Through her dedication, actions, and leadership, she has built a legacy that will forever be synonymous with her successful efforts to improve and positively transform Catholic education opportunities for the students and families in her region. As our beloved Holy Father Pope Francis shared, “Catholic education is one of the most important challenges for the Church.”
On a personal note, I have known Zoilita for her 44 years of ministry to our Catholic schools and have come to admire her passionate devotion to her work as a Catholic educator and her love of family, especially, her husband Gus, daughters Deana, Christina, and Alyssa, sons-in-law, James, Thomas, and Robert, and grandchildren Brooke, Nicholas, Charles, Brynn, Zoe, Chase, and Thomas III. Zoilita has been a treasured gift and blessing to me. I have been enriched by our friendship and touched by who she is as a person and Catholic leader. Zoilita, on behalf of the students, families, principals, educators, pastors, and colleagues you have touched throughout your years in the Archdiocese of New York, His Eminence and I thank you for taking the challenge of Catholic education head-on. We wish you well in your future endeavors and hope you enjoy time with your beloved family.
In the coming months, a search will be conducted by the Office of the Superintendent of Schools to identify and appoint the most qualified candidate for this position.
Mr. Michael J. Deegan
Superintendent of Schools
Archdiocese of New York