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ECHS welcomes new principal, Daniel Cirone


Many people think of Christian education with a frown. A well-rounded and productive education does not seem to click with faith. People often imagine that students at a faith-based school cannot have a “normal school experience.” New Eastern Christian High School principal, Mr. Daniel Cirone is determined to break these stereotypes.

“Eastern Christian changed my opinion on what Christian school was… [It’s] one of the great joys of coming here … you’re really not sacrificing any of the stereotypical high school experience but supplementing and allowing that Christian environment to happen within that high school experience,” he says.


Prior to EC, Mr. Cirone worked at Fort Lee High School teaching various English and language classes and coaching football and track. He leads worship at Cornerstone Christian Church and has a wife and daughter. Growing up, Mr. Cirone did not know EC existed; in fact, he had a view of Christian education that did not appeal to him.


“[I saw it as] this very small sort of cohort of students that … traveled together and graduated maybe twenty kids per year… that’s what a Christian school is.”


While there is nothing wrong with this, he adds, Mr. Cirone wanted to work in a large school, with a large student body that was full of energy and life. He did not imagine that his desires as a teacher and administrator could fit into the world of Christian education.


After he and his family began attending Cornerstone Christian Church, however, this view began to change. He was introduced to Eastern Christian through a number of families at the church, and soon toured the elementary school for his daughter. Here, he was introduced to a different kind of Christain education– one that was, for him, just like a regular school. He slowly became more integrated into the EC community through social media and orientation nights, and, finally, his wife introduced him to the opening for a principal at the high school. After much consideration of what this would look like for him, he felt God calling him to make the switch. He chose to follow the call, and has entered the school year with new enthusiasm and a determination to break the stereotypes he once had about Christian education.


There are three major tentpoles to his vision for EC:


First, he wants EC to be a school that prides itself on academic excellence. He says, “I think a lot of times, coming from the public sector, you hear public school teachers say, ‘well, private school teachers can't do it as well as we can’.” He hopes to counter this idea by creating a strong and competitive academic environment through reworking rubrics and class organization. He wants not only to be a school that focuses on faith, but also creates students that are well educated and eager to continue learning.


Second, he hopes to achieve unity through diversity. He has been greatly inspired by the cultural representation in EC’s student body and staff. He hopes to uplift the many voices within EC and create an environment that honors differences. “ I want to be a building… where you can have diverse voices speaking and sharing while at the same time unified in the vision and mission of Eastern Christian,” he adds.


Lastly, he is determined not to sacrifice spiritual fortification in the pursuit of these other goals. Ultimately, he says, parents are sending their children to EC because it is a Christian school. He plans to make sure that students are not only academically supported, not only celebrating diversity, but also preparing to become Christ’s disciples in the world. He adds that if students cannot answer for why they believe what they do in a secular world after high school, then EC is lacking in spiritual education. He wants to make EC a school that produces well-rounded and open-minded students.


In pursuit of this, he encourages students to talk to him and ask questions, adding, “The door is open!”

 

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