The students at Vincentian Academy in McCandless will have a new principal to help them kick off the new school year this fall. Ed Bernot took over the reins as the principal in late June.
Although he is new to Vincentian, Mr. Bernot has a long history in Catholic education, including his own schooling. He grew up in Butler, and began his career by teaching at Lehman Catholic in Ohio.
“It is rather ironic, because it was almost identical in size to Vincentian,” he said.
When he was an undergraduate at the University of Dayton, Mr. Bernot said he didn’t know what he wanted to major in.
“All told, I had five different majors along the way until I finally settled on English. It was a subject that I did well in high school and really enjoyed,” he said.
Mr. Bernot is the fourth-generation of teachers in his family that included his mom, her mother, and her mother’s mother. He decided education might be a natural career path for him.
“I remember from a young age my grandmother correcting my grammar,” he said.
Those early visits to his grandmother, Margaret Skendall, in Shaler left more impressions on Mr. Bernot’s than just his grammar. He and his wife, Shelly, and their 3-year-old son, Stefen, now live in his grandmother’s house, the same house his mother grew up in.
“It is 110 years old. I always loved this house when we would visit on weekends and when we moved back to Pittsburgh, we were able to move into it,” he said.
Mr. Bernot said he and his wife decided to move back to the Pittsburgh area to be close to his family and the opportunity to purchase his grandmother’s house became available. They made a leap of faith by moving to the area without jobs.
“We knew we wanted to be close to one of our families and thought it would be really cool moving into this house. We believed it would work out and fortunately, it did,” he said.
Shortly after their move in the summer of 1999, Mr. Bernot joined the staff at Central Catholic High School and Mrs. Bernot started teaching at St. Bonaventure Elementary School in Shaler, where she still teaches. The family is also very active in the parish of St. Bonaventure.
Mr. Bernot was an English teacher at Central Catholic High School for nine years, then moved into the role of the assistant principal for student affairs for six years. When the position became available at Vincentian, Mr. Bernot was ready.
“The last couple of years, I knew I wanted to move into a principal role. Brother Bob Schaefer was totally supportive and served as a great mentor,” he said, referring to the principal at Central Catholic.
Mr. Bernot explained that a lay person had never served as the head of Central.
“In time, that will change, but this opportunity came now,” he said.
Coming to Vincentian is following another family tradition of sorts for Mr. Bernot. His mother, Patricia Bernot, was a graduate of Vincentian.
“We used to come to the festival every year,” he said.
Mr. Bernot said he is looking forward to this new chapter in his career in Catholic education.
“I want to continue to build on what is already an excellent reputation of providing families with faith-based education and our strong academic reputation. This is a wonderful place to be,” he said.
OCCUPATION: Principal, Vincentian Academy
FAMILY: Wife, Shelly; son, Stefen, 3
EDUCATION: Bachelor’s degree, University of Dayton; master’s degree in educational administration, California University of Pennsylvania
HOBBIES: Spending time with family, running, playing ice hockey
Kathleen Ganster, freelance writer: email@example.com.