CRANBERRY TWP — Luke Crawford says he’s bringing something new to Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic High School this year as the school’s principal: cohesive leadership.
“What I want to bring is a cohesive vision so we’re all working together toward the same end,” he said. “I hope that through building good relationships with the faculty, staff and coaches, we’ll be able to do that.”
Crawford is the third principal in the high school’s two years of existence in Cranberry Township, replacing Ann Gaudino. School starts Monday.
The main goal for Crawford and the school this year is to implement a new teaching curriculum.
The STREAM Plus Integrated Curriculum adds religion (“R”) and the arts (“A”) to the traditional STEM — science, technology, engineering and mathematics program.
Students at Cardinal Wuerl will take four years of theology courses and be required to take art electives.
“I worked for a general contractor when I was putting myself through college, and what I tell people is you could know how to build all sorts of things, but if you can’t stand in a kitchen with a homeowner and envision what it could look like in a creative capacity, then you’ll never be a successful contractor,” Crawford said. “We don’t want to neglect the creative capacity of the human persona.”
A Philadelphia native, Crawford, 36, also brings in a plethora of experience to Cardinal Wuerl.
He served in numerous positions at Quigley Catholic High School in Baden. Starting in 2007, Crawford was the school’s religion teacher, director of campus ministry and religion department chair.
He said he realized the importance of administration in schools and decided to get his Master of Business Administration at Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio, where he also completed his undergraduate studies.
In his last year at Quigley Catholic, Crawford became administrative assistant to the principal and handled discipline.
He came to Cardinal Wuerl this past school year and was a religion teacher, the religion department chairman, the director of mission integration and the dean of students.
Throughout his professional career, Crawford has been in the Diocese of Pittsburgh.
“I’m familiar with the way of the land here,” he said.
With the STREAM integration, each department will be responsible for overlapping with one other department. Crawford said this done for the program to be a cross-curricular initiative.
“Say for instance in social studies they’re studying the French Revolution. In English class they’re going to read novels that deal with the historical issues of the French Revolution,” Crawford said. “Good schools already do this to a certain degree.”
Despite the challenges the young school has faced in the past two years including new teachers, principals and staff, Crawford said the school is in a good position to be more stable.
When the high school opens Monday it will have about 355 students, a 65-student increase from last year. Gender distribution is “relatively equal,” Crawford noted.
Several new sports also are being introduced: girls lacrosse, swimming and coed golf.