PHOTO: William Belluzzi addresses students at the Athletic Awards banquet.
RUMSON, NJ – On June 30th, Holy Cross School Principal William J. Belluzzi will retire from his final role as a school administrator. In his time at Holy Cross, he has made significant strides in curriculum, completely reworked the daily schedule to accommodate a middle school model for Grades 6-8, and upgraded the school to state-of-the-art technology. He has also secured the school’s status as a 2015 National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence, which he gratefully accepts as a validation of his teachers teaching well and his students being able to demonstrate what they are learning.
PHOTO: Mr. Belluzzi and Fr. Michael Manning in the prayer garden on the Holy Cross campus.
But if you ask Bill Belluzzi what his shining achievement is, he humbly points to his knack for bringing a school community together. He is most pleased that children at the Catholic grade school are happy to come to school every day and that they and their parents are proud to call Holy Cross their own. This did not happen by accident, as Mr. Belluzzi is known for greeting each child at the front door every morning, rain, snow and wind notwithstanding. He is known for not only recognizing each child by name, but also for knowing their individual strengths and struggles, the things that worry them, and the things that make them laugh. This will be his legacy.
Mr. Belluzzi started his career in November 1972 after graduating from Fordham University, Magna cum laude. He began as a Spanish and Italian teacher and guidance counselor at two all-boys Catholic high schools, Bergen Catholic and St. Joseph Regional, for a total of 17 years. During this time he acquired his Master of Arts in Teaching in Secondary Education. He then served the Oakland, NJ schools for ten years, as guidance counselor and later as principal. While in Oakland, he also held various positions at Dominican College, most notably as the first coordinator of a program for working adults to obtain a college degree in an accelerated evening format. While under his direction, the program grew from 16 to over 200 students in three years. During this time, he earned his Master of Education in Administration and Supervision.
PHOTO: Mr. Belluzzi gives a diploma to Kindergarten graduate Brook Hobbie of Rumson.
In July 1999, Mr. Belluzzi moved to Tenafly, NJ where he served as a middle school principal for ten years and then moved on to Superintendent in Montvale, NJ for 3 years. While there he also taught English as a Second Language at Bergen County Community College. Holy Cross School called to him when he was about to retire from his superintendent position. Though he was close to retirement age, he knew he still had the energy and talent make a difference in education. His position at Holy Cross put him at the helm of 40 staff members and 400 students, Pre K through Grade 8. Fr. Michael Manning, Pastor of Holy Cross parish, knew right away that Mr. Belluzzi was perfect for the position:
I knew from the comforting and confidence-inspiring first words he gave to teachers, parents and students that we had been given a gem. His calm and caring demeanor, his unfailing love for our children undergirded with a genuine love for Jesus and His Church has fostered amity in Holy Cross School and parish alike. For such great zeal and talent, for his dedication and energy to our school, our faculty and our students, we give him thanks and gratitude.
PHOTO: Left to right, teachers Amy Evans, Kathleen Chadwick, Kim Clauss, and Mr. Belluzzi cheer on the Holy Cross Raiders at the annual Forrestdale basketball game. Row above, Holy Cross parents Jennifer Bruno (left) and Candace Cade.
For five years, Mr. Belluzzi has led Holy Cross with patience, kindness, innovation and energy. Now, he is ready to spend more time with his family, to travel, and to work on that elusive home project list. He is eager to begin a part-time position at Georgian Court University supervising student teachers. He reflects, “After 45 years in education, to influence and share my experience with those just beginning is an exciting opportunity.” He leaves his best wishes with Holy Cross School and its new principal Dr. Mark DeMareo, stating, “I’m hoping the next principal will bring another set of talents and expertise to build on the strong foundation that’s already here. The staff at Holy Cross is truly incredible to work with. They embrace new ideas and changes; they are flexible in their approach to children.”
PHOTO: The Belluzzi family, Bill, wife Jody, daughter Lisa and son Brian at the farewell dinner given by the faculty and staff.
Holy Cross School wishes Mr. Belluzzi well and hopes he will visit often and look back fondly on a school community that embraced him, first and foremost, because he embraced them.