Catholic Schools In East Harlem Hire John-Paul Barnaba As New Principal

Earlier this month, Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of New York began a new school year that may look different but has the same goal in mind.

That goal is to empower children of all backgrounds to gain the confidence to realize their fullest potential.

In East Harlem on 118th Street, that is exactly what the new Academy of St. Paul and St. Ann School’s new principal, John-Paul Barnaba, intends to accomplish. This will be his first year as principal of the elementary school, and he brings a diverse range of experience as an educator and teacher.

John-Paul Barnaba already led his previous school’s transition to remote learning, making a transition within days. His leadership involved overseeing the development of virtual classes, Parent Advisory Meetings, Open Houses, Honors Assemblies, Spirit Week, and hybrid graduation, which featured both virtual and social-distance graduations during the COVID-19 crisis.

Mr. Barnaba comes to the Academy of St. Paul and St. Ann from Our Lady of the Assumption School in the Bronx where he was principal for five years. He started his career teaching 8th grade at Nativity of Our Blessed Lady School in 2003. During his tenure, he collaborated with his principal on designing and implementing “Teaching Literacy through History,” while also focusing on improved teacher professional development.

In 2013, Mr. Barnaba was selected to join the Curran Principal Academy, where he worked alongside other principal candidates and current principals from both the Archdiocese of New York and the Diocese of Brooklyn, to work on projects including blended learning, UPK, and enrollment initiatives.

“The Academy builds on the strengths of both the St. Paul’s and St. Ann’s communities,” says John-Paul. “Catholic education has always been a great resource in East Harlem, and our school, with its commitment to our values and mission, are needed now more than ever.”

He currently resides in Astoria, Queens, with his wife two sons.


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This is the first year that St. Ann, The Personal School, and St. Paul School combined to form the Academy of St. Paul & St. Ann. This new Academy of St. Paul & St. Ann will bring together on one campus two amazing school communities poised to become the center for Catholic education in East Harlem.

The Academy of St. Paul & St. Ann will provide new, exciting academic and program enhancement opportunities beyond what was offered to both student bodies. St. Ann had limitations in both classroom size and recreational space, while St. Paul has excellent outdoor play facilities and academic spaces, and room for expansion.

Bringing these two schools together ensures that all Academy students will continue to have access to a rigorous and personalized curriculum that includes a robust music and arts program, as well as, a state of the art science lab.

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