The “family” atmosphere catapults the Catholic School of Saint Albert the Great to second place in the 2021 Top Workplaces.


NORTH ROYALTON, Ohio – Rather than a school community, most people associated with Saint Albert the Great Catholic School will use the term “family” to describe day-to-day life at the pre-K-8 parish school.

“It’s not just that a lot of families and teachers are members of the ward, it’s more the atmosphere of concern and mutual support,” said Gina Farinelli, who served in St. Albert’s for the last 22 years. an administrative assistant to now registrar.

“This is my second home. There is just a unique bond between colleagues here, and in my position I have a broad view of the love and care that all of our students receive on a daily basis, as well as the love and care that employees give to one another. “

Happy employees are synonymous with happy students and, ultimately, happy parents – and it is this atmosphere of satisfaction that catapulted the private school to second place in the small business category and of the 2021 Plain Dealer Top Workplaces survey.

This is the seventh year in a row that Saint Albert has been ranked among the best places to work; last year he placed 13th.

For the List of the best places to work 2021, and the Plain Dealer have compiled 175 Notable Northeast Ohio Employers, based on employee surveys. We focused on their responses and adaptations during the coronavirus pandemic.

In December 2018, the Academy of Saint Albert the Great and the Assumption, located five kilometers away, risked closing due to the low number of registrations. Because Saint Albert the Great was flourishing – with a waiting list – Saint Albert the Grand Principal Ed Vittardi was invited to oversee the Academy of the Assumption.

He implemented the same operating model as Saint Albert, hired a new principal and worked side by side to mirror the two schools. The name of the School of the Assumption was officially changed to Saint Albert the Great at the Academy of the Assumption. Thanks to this partnership, Saint Albert the Great at the Académie de l’Assomption finished third in the 2021 Top Workplaces.

Founded in 1961, Saint Albert the Great Catholic School currently educates 900 kindergarten through eighth grade students. It employs 83 teachers and staff.

Farinelli, and other colleagues we’ve spoken with, attribute much of the family atmosphere to director Ed Vittardi, who was retired eight years ago to guide staff and students. Vittardi, who had retired as superintendent of North Royalton schools, said he had no hesitation in returning to work.

“I was still young and Saint Albert is my parish,” explains Vittardi. “Now I tell everyone that the Lord saved my best job for my last job. I loved all the jobs I have had, but this one is hands down the best.

Vittardi’s late father, who was a construction commissioner, taught him that a good boss doesn’t treat all of his employees the same, but gives everyone what they need to be successful. It was a lesson that marked him. And because of this, Vittardi is rarely found behind his desk.

It often happens in a classroom or involves teachers in one-on-one conversations in the halls about how things are going or what they need to make their jobs easier.

“Ed makes teachers and staff feel valued and included. It is his dedication and attitude of “leading by example” that does not go unnoticed here. He always takes the time to speak with anyone who wants or needs his attention, ”said Farinelli. “It is his compassion that motivates every staff member here. “

Vittardi sees the staff – and the students – as an extension of his own family, even going so far as to include the students in his personal campaign to convince his wife, Jackie, to have a puppy. As a result, the dog often accompanies Vittardi on his tours to visit classrooms.

It was the family atmosphere that attracted Melanie Miller, a grade 6 language arts teacher in Saint Albert two years ago. She had taught for 12 years in other schools, both public and private, before Saint Albert’s.

“The ‘family’ is the reputation of this school – not just in the diocese, but all around Greater Cleveland,” she said, “and this ‘family’ rang true the first time we walked in. in the building. It’s a beautiful thing. “

Miller said the support and “a sense that you are valued by the administration” is “extremely vital” to the day-to-day atmosphere of the school.

“It’s – really – a family, not just a team. We have daily discussions and we always check each other out, we support each other. It makes you want to do a good job, ”she said.

For Kelly Beskid, a fourth-grade alumnus and teacher in her 22nd grade at Saint Albert’s, school is truly a family affair. Beskid’s husband is the school’s sports director and their two children are Saint A.

“I knew I had a great education, but when I taught my student here, I got a whole new perspective on culture,” she explained. “I never felt the need to look for another job because everything about Saint Albert matches my personal attitude to teaching: the day doesn’t end at 3:30 pm if one of your students needs you, and we do everything we can to make sure every student has what they need to be successful – not just here, but in life.

“The students know that we care about ourselves. Parents know we care about us. But more importantly, everyone who works here knows that we care about each other and will always support each other. How not to be thankful every morning when you wake up and know you have that kind of support? Why would you want to work elsewhere, ”Beskid asked.


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