NEW CANAAN — John Alfone, a New Haven native, has dedicated the last 30 years of his life to Catholic education.
Quite the trajectory for someone who worked in a pharmacy until age 36.
A graduate of the Brooklyn College of Pharmacy, Alfone opted for a slight change in profession after a neighbor suggested he pursue something in education. A former principal at four different schools in the state and assistant superintendent for the Diocese of Bridgeport, he will be at the helm of St. Aloysius School for the upcoming school year.
Alfone talked about his interests (like ballroom dancing) and his goals for the following years.
Q: What are some things you’re looking forward to?
A: Some of the work I think I have ahead of me is maintaining the quality Catholic academic program that we have here at this school. My predecessors have done a wonderful job of setting a strong foothold for me in continuing to do that. I’m looking to get the school more involved in the community, more aware of our presence about what we can do for the children who are seeking a Catholic education in New Canaan.
That's probably one of the areas I want to concentrate on right away, increasing our enrollment and if we get the good news out there, then the enrollment will increase.
Q: How did you get started in Catholic education?
A: This was a career change. I was a pharmacist up until the late 1980s and I went back to school for my master’s in education. As soon as I finished, I was approached by my parish priest and asked if I would like to be in a teaching position.
I took a position teaching at the St. Vincent De Paul School in East Haven, serving as a teacher for about a year and a half and then I was asked to serve as an interim principal while they were looking for a replacement. It wasn’t my intention to go into administration but I the parish and the diocese were pleased with my work so I stayed on and it’s been history ever since.
Q: How did the switch in careers come about?
A: I was influenced by a neighbor that I had who was a well-respected teacher in Guilford who kept talking to me about how there was a great need back then for math and science teachers who knew their content area and he kept on me to consider it and that’s when I finally made the commitment to go back to school for my master’s in education.
I figured that the worst that could happen is that I wouldn’t like the study of it and wouldn’t pursue it any further but the opposite happened so I gave up pharmacy. When I was practicing pharmacy I did some retail work for a year and then hospital pharmacy for several years and it just wasn’t my cup of tea so this was a welcome change.
Q: An interest of yours is ballroom dancing. How is that?
A: I was always interested in dance, and I had the opportunity to start taking ballroom dance lessons at the Fairfield adult education program and I really enjoyed that. I went to a private studio in Southport and enjoyed it very much.Read Full Article
I have done some amateur competitions at the studio level, but nothing professionally. It’s a great social activity and it’s a lot of fun. It’s something that not a lot of people do.
Q: What is one thing you think people should know about you?
A: I really want people to understand that this has been my entire educational career and totally committed to Catholic education. As a ministry of the church, I take great pride in that. I've been blessed with this career and it's very important to me.