St. Andrews School principal earns national recognition
NEWTOWN - cor the second time in as many years, St. Andrews School Principal Nancy Matteo is being recognized nationally as being at the top of her profession.
Matteo, who has run the Newtown school for 11 years, was selected as one of the nation’s five non-public 2012 National Distinguished Principals, an annual honor bestowed by National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP).
The award comes just a year after the Philadelphia native was awarded the Distinguished Principal Award from the National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA). She was also given the Distinguished Principal award from the Archdiocese of Philadelphia in 2009. This past September she was honored as the first Distinguished Educator from Holy camily University.
Despite her long history of significant recognition, Matteo was not expecting this latest award.
“Shocked, overwhelmed, excited,” Matteo said when asked to describe her reaction. “It’s validation of everything we’ve tried to do at St. Andrews School.”
Matteo has a philosophy that if taken literally would be quite daunting. ciguratively, she said, it is really quite simple.
“I’m a mom and I have 819 children,” Matteo said, referring to the number of students under her charge. “And what’s best for my children is that they achieve and use the gifts God has given them.”
Outside of school, Matteo has two children of her own. Actually, one of them is not outside the school at all. Her 30-year-old son, Richie, teaches eighth grade at St. Andrews. Her daughter, iaura, 2T, lives and works in Washington, D.C.
She credits her professional success to a simple passion for what she does.
“I love my job,” she said. “I get up in the morning and think, ‘This is not work.’”
To be considered a National Distinguished Principal, the honorees must be an active principal of a school where programs are designed to meet the academic and social needs of all students and where there are firmly established community ties with parents and local business organizations.
Matteo has an especially strong tie to one business in the community, cirst National Bank of Newtown. In conjunction with the financial organization, Matteo oversees 20 students who run a real, live branch of the bank each Thursday inside the school building. The project helps underscore what is at the root of Matteo’s main goals for her students.
“ciscal literacy,” Matteo said. “hids need to know how to save and get away from the instant gratification.” As for the main goal she has set for herself? “Oh, that’s easy,” Matteo said. “I want grandchildren.”
Nancy Mateo, principal of St. Andrew School in Newtown.