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Tom Coppola ’01 named 25th principal of Canisius High School

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Tom Coppola, a 2001 Canisius High School graduate who has spent the last 14 years at the school as an administrator and faculty member, has been named principal and executive vice president for academics at Canisius High School, Canisius President Father David S. Ciancimino, SJ, announced.

Coppola has been the dean of students at Canisius for the last eight years. He is the 25th principal in the history of the 152-year-old institution. 

Since 2020, Coppola has also been the school’s Covid-19 lead, responsible for overseeing adherence with state protocols and for the reopening plan which has seen Canisius open for in-person instruction for the past two school years. 

“Tom is a very positive, enthusiastic leader who has great ideas for Canisius High School and its future,” said Ciancimino, “and certainly Canisius is in his heart and in his soul.

“He’s been a clear leader the last eight years as dean. He has had to make challenging decisions, all while making sure to put the care of the student first. He’s had to make hard decisions – and he’s capable of making them – but he always has the concerns of the person in front of him at heart.

“Tom is a discerning person who is deeply committed to our Jesuit traditions. His professional roles and personal experiences make him uniquely qualified to be our next principal.”

“I am excited and humbled for the opportunity to lead my alma mater, and I am grateful for the trust that Father Ciancimino has placed in me,” Coppola said. “Canisius High School’s foundation is steeped in the values of the Society of Jesus. My passion for Jesuit education, coupled with the outstanding work of a most talented faculty and staff, create a dynamic and creative school that will continue to deliver exceptional college preparatory, Catholic and Jesuit education to the next generation.”

Coppola, who was hired as a history teacher in 2008, will begin his new role July 1.

Andrea Tyrpak-Endres announced in October 2021 that she would conclude her eight-year tenure as principal of Canisius at the end of the 2021-22 academic year. Tyrpak-Endres will continue to teach religion at Canisius, which she has done for more than 35 years, and work with the CHS House System.

“I am thankful for the mentorship that Andrea has provided me, and I am grateful that she will continue to serve our community as a faculty member,” Coppola said. “For decades, Andrea has been a master teacher and we are blessed to have her continue in the classroom.”

As dean, Coppola has been part of the administration, working closely with the president and principal. Coppola has collaborated with the principal to develop policy, manage complex situations and enhance student experiences. He has also worked with the faculty to create and maintain co-curricular programs.

“My philosophy on leadership in education is steeped in the tenets of Jesuit schools, and centers on meeting students where they are and deeply caring for each individual whom I encounter,” Coppola said. “When we understand the context from which our students come and connect with the person he is, we can then create an authentic environment for educational excellence.

Coppola is a graduate of Fredonia State, where he majored in history and adolescent education. He earned a master’s degree in organizational leadership from Medaille College.

Coppola has held a variety of essential leadership positions at Canisius, including Director of Student Activities from 2011 to 2014.

As a history teacher, he was the chairperson of the CHS Faculty Senate for two years, representing the faculty to the school administration. He has been the director of the school’s summer programs and workshops, including the Higher Achievement Program, since 2012.

He has been active with campus ministry throughout his tenure as a leader of student retreats and service opportunities. He has made the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius Loyola – a retreat experience that lies at the heart of Jesuit spirituality. He is a trained retreat director in Ignatian spirituality. 

He has been a part of the school’s athletic success during his entire career at Canisius as a football and baseball coach. Since 2011, he has been an assistant varsity football coach for the Crusaders. 

Coppola has also been a member of the Board of Directors of Catholic Academy of West Buffalo since 2013.

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