By Claire Hudson and Phillip Le
Throughout his life, Dr. Paul Fallon has been a leader, whether it was as a high school student in New Jersey or principal at Bishop Sullivan Catholic High School.
We sat down with Dr. Fallon for a few afternoons in September to learn more about his background, beliefs, and vision for the school since he became principal in August.
Dr. Fallon has a strong background in Catholic schools, both as a student and an administrator. He attended a Catholic high school in New Jersey in his youth and was given command of the school JROTC. He later served in the Marine Corps for thirteen years, turning down a senatorial nomination to attend West Point.
“I had a nomination to West Point Military Academy, but turned it down because I wanted to be nothing else but a Marine,” Dr. Fallon said.
He later attended college at SUNY Albany and obtained his doctorate degree in Educational Administration and Policy Studies.
Dr. Fallon was most recently principal of La Salle Institute, an all-boys Catholic school in the Diocese of Albany. The school has students from grades six through twelve and features a strong military aspect. Dr. Fallon was employed at the Institute for two years, turning down a job as a professor of educational administration and policy in favor of coming to Bishop Sullivan.
Fast forward to this summer, when Dr. Fallon applied for the vacant principal position after Dennis Price retired. He was offered the job on the spot after an interview with Father Dan Beeman, President of Bishop Sullivan at the time, and Ray Honeycutt, the Superintendent for the Diocese of Richmond.
“I thought, there’s a reason for this, why all this is happening so quick,” said Dr. Fallon. “Maybe I’m not supposed to be a professor. Maybe I’m still supposed to be here to take care of students and bring them to full potential. So, I prayed about it. I knew, in my gut, that this is where I’m supposed to be.”
His long-term goals for BSCHS?
“I want the school to transcend. We don’t know, as a school, what we can transcend into yet. So, we keep on building and refining and improving, creating a vision, and then we go there. The exciting, thrilling part is, who knows where that’s going to take us,” said Dr. Fallon.
“Very Catholic, by action, not by guilt,” is how Dr. Fallon describes himself. His favorite saint is St. Francis of Assisi, recalling a saying that Catholics should “preach by action,” which is often misquoted.
“It’s not about memorizing scripture. It’s not about the seven of ‘this’ and the ten of ‘that.’ That’s not what our beautiful Catholic faith is about,” he said.
“Be a decent person. That sounds very simplistic, but if everybody here was a decent person and we took care of each other, there would be lots of room to learn and grow,” said Dr. Fallon.
Dr. Fallon plans on teaching leadership seminars in order to promote conversation and mutual learning at BSCHS. They will be on a staggered weekly schedule to prevent excessive class absences, and assigned readings would allow topics for discussion to be easily understood. He stressed that the seminars will combine ninth through twelfth graders into one group.
“It is my ultimate goal that Bishop Sullivan Catholic High School becomes the premier student/scholar/leader development school in the region,” he said. “When I say I’ll make it happen, I’ll be teaching leadership seminars beginning second semester.”
Stay tuned, as we sat down with Dr. Fallon again this month and will be writing about TCIS and campus security in our next installment.