St. Rose of Lima School is led by a passionate and dedicated team of experienced educators and administrative professionals. 

The School Advisory Board provides the leadership to foster an environment that provides underlying Catholic values, long-term strategic planning and financial stability. This role of the School Advisory Board complements the school’s mission which is to nurture and foster the spiritual, moral, intellectual, physical and social growth of the student through its religious and academic curriculum and extracurricular programs.

Our Principal works interactively with the School Advisory Board to fulfill the School Advisory Board’s responsibilities in the school’s strategic planning, finance, facilities, marketing, and development activities.

Who's Who on the School Advisory Board


Monsignor Robert Weiss

Monsignor Robert Weiss, Pastor

Born September 30, 1946 Baltimore, Maryland
Son of Margaret Parker Weiss and Charles Weiss


  • Saint Charles School (Orlando, FL) in 1960
  • Bishop Moore High School (Orlando, FL) in 1964
  • Saint John Fisher College/Becket Hall Seminary (Rochester, NY) in 1968, BA Sociology
  • Saint Bernard Seminary (Rochester, New York), Master of Divinity in 1971; Master of Theology in 1972
  • Jesuit School of Theology (Berkeley, CA), Doctor of Ministry in 1979

Ordained May 18, 1973

Parochial Vicar

  • Saint Andrew Parish (Bridgeport, CT)
  • Saint Leo Parish (Stamford, CT)
  • Saint Jude Parish (Monroe, CT)

Spiritual Director at Trinity Catholic High School (Stamford, CT)

Pastor of Saint Joseph Parish (Shelton, CT)

Pastor of Saint Rose of Lima Parish (Newtown, CT)

Papal Honors as Chaplain to His Holiness in 2007

Knights of the Holy Sepulchre in 2014, elevated to Knight Commander in 2017

Board Memberships at present

  • Immaculate High School (Danbury, CT)
  • Chairman, Catholic Identity Committee Saint Catherine Academy (Fairfield, CT)
  • Catholic Charities of Western Connecticut


  • Member of College of Consultors (1999 – 2014)
  • Member of Pastors Advisory Council (Present)
  • Territorial Vicar for both Vicariates 3 and 5 (1990-2012)
  • Member of Sacred Arts Commission (Present)

Received several awards for involvement in community organizations, including:

  • Naugatuck Valley Boys and Girls Club Service to Youth Award
  • Bronze Pelican Award ( Boy Scouts of America)
  • For God and Youth Award
  • Association of Religious Communities “Spirit of Faith” Award
  • FBI Director’s Community Leadership Award
  • Nancy K. Dolan Leadership Award
  • Trinity Catholic High School Legacy Award
  • Recognitions from the State of Connecticut for community involvement
  • Knights of Columbus Caritas Award (First recipient for service during the Sandy Hook School shooting to the parish and community)
  • Newtown Youth Academy Diamond Community Honoree
  • Ability Beyond’s Theresa Foss Memorial Award
  • Saint Augustine Medal of Service
  • Rise and Walk Foundation’s Saint Catherine of Siena Award
  • Knights of Columbus Good Shepherd Award
  • Hands and Heart Community Service Award (First recipient from the Newtown community)

Placed first in the short documentary category at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival “Lessons From A School Shooting: Notes From Dunblane”


Bardhyl Gjoka

Mr. Bardhyl Gjoka, Principal

  • Bachelor’s Degree, Math & Physics with extensive STEM background
  • Masters in Education
  • Sixth year Diploma in Educational Leadership
  • Currently pursuing Doctorate Degree in Social and Emotional Leadership (SEL)
  • Principal at St. Rose School
  • Former Principal St. Aloysius School, New Canaan
  • Former Assistant Principal, All Saints School, Norwalk
  • Math/Engineering teacher, Kolbe Cathedral High School, Bridgeport, High School Engineering Academy, Fairfield

“I have a strong commitment to Catholic education. My wife also teaches in a Catholic school, and both of our sons are students in Catholic schools, one in elementary and one in high school. St. Rose School has an undeniable reputation for its rich Catholic tradition, loyal community service, academic excellence, and student success. Our faculty and staff, all of whom are NY or CT State Certified with a BS or MS in Education, are committed to helping every child meet their full potential. Through all of my years as an educator, I have come to believe that a faith-based education with a progressive academic journey provides the strongest foundation for the future success of a child’s life. This is evident at St. Rose School. It is my privilege to be a part of this vibrant community. I am fully committed to continuing the long standing traditions and introducing enhancements to ensure that all students receive a stellar academic, faith focused education. The School Advisory Board is an integral part of our ongoing success. I am grateful for the dynamic contributions of all members as well as for Monsignor Bob’s ongoing love and support of St. Rose School.”


Nancy Sedensky

Mrs. Nancy Sedensky

Chairman, School Advisory Board

B.S. Longwood University

Director of Operations, Cartus Corp.

Alumni students: Audrey Sedensky (2014) and Stephen Sedensky (2016)

Parishioner for 22 years

“We have been so pleased with St. Rose school and the influence it has had on our children – the education, faith and values. I love the school! My goal in serving on the school board is to ensure other families share in the positive experience the school brings to students and families!”

Stephen Piccolo

Mr. Stephen Piccolo

Chairman, Finance Committee, SAB

Retired Senior VP and Chief Financial Officer, New York Medical College

Parishioner at St. Rose since 2016

"I'm committed to Catholic education, having served as a member of the Board of Advisors of Immaculate High School for more than twenty years and more recently as a member of the Audit Committee of the Foundations in Education of the Diocese of Bridgeport. We have a family commitment to Catholic education with one of my daughters teaching at St. Raphael Academy in Bridgeport. I am proud to be part of the team at St. Rose."

Dawn Handwerker

Ms. Dawn M. Handwerker

Chairman, Marketing/Fundraising Committee, SAB

Bachelor of Science in Education and Social Policy - Northwestern University, Evanston, IL

Senior Associate ~ Ruotolo Associates, Inc

Alumni Children - Tony Leonardi (2012); Mark Leonardi (2015)

Parishioner for 18 years

“St. Rose School is a very special place. Both of my sons attended St. Rose from Preschool through 8th grade, which provided them the education and moral foundation to flourish in high school, college and beyond. With my experience in Advancement, Special Event Planning and Fundraising Consulting I am thrilled to become a member of the SAB to provide guidance and help St. Rose School grow successfully into the future.”

Jeffrey McKenzie

Mr. Jeff McKenzie

Technology Committee, SAB

Bachelor of Arts, Business/Marketing

Vice President, Product Marketing

Alumni children: Parker McKenzie (2015), Peyton McKenzie (2017), and Patrick McKenzie (2019)

St. Rose Parishioner for 11 years

“I have witnessed the positive impact of our St. Rose School community, not only on my family but in every life that we touch. I recognize this does not happen by accident, rather through the hard work and dedication of many. I am happy to be a part of the continued success of St. Rose School and look forward to doing my part.”

Kevin DeBartolomeo

Mr. Kevin DeBartolomeo

Facilities Committee, SAB

BA Economics, Villanova

MBA University of New Haven

Director of Business Development, Seaborn Networks

Alumni children: Gabrielle (2010); Christina (2012); and Daniel (2018)

Parishioner for 25 years

"I firmly believe in the mission of St. Rose School which seeks to nurture the moral integrity and intellectual curiosity that is needed in our world today. I've been blessed to witness my own three children who attended the school become faith-filled, academically successful students in higher education."

Francisco Middleton

Mr. Francisco Middleton

Chair Technology Committee, member of the Finance Committee, SAB

BSEE National Polytechnic Institute/ Retired COO Opel Solar, Inc.

Alumni children: Fran Middleton (1986); Monica Middleton (1993)

Two grandkids in SRS: Ezekiel Lopes, 1st grade Rhys Lopes, Peek A Boo 2’s

St. Rose parishioner for 38 years in total

“Our children are first hand proof of the great education that St. Rose School provides. From my early involvement in the finance and technology roles at St. Rose school, I have actively contributed to the school's advancement, including the building of the first computer lab back in the 80s. When I was recently invited to join the School Advisory Board, I saw a new opportunity to help in the continued growth of the school. With two grandchildren now in St. Rose School, I have an even bigger interest in ensuring the growth and well being of the school.”

Helen Previdi

Ms. Helen Previdi

Marketing Committee, SAB

BA, Political Science, Bates College

Alumni student, SRS

“I’ve spent most of my career in marketing focused on making the customer experience the best it can be. Most recently launched Subway’s new Rewards program.”

“St. Rose School has so many amazing memories for me. Mom making my uniform- red, white & blue were the colors back then, Sister Marilyn, Sister Carol, Sister Julia teaching Math and Sister Margaret was Principal. All of these women helped make me who I am today. And the school gave me lifelong friendships that I continue to cherish.”

Al Vitiello

Mr. Al Vitiello

Facilities Committee, SAB

Construction Technology Degree from University of NY at Delhi.

Columbia University CERC Program in environmental sustainability.

US Properties Manager Catholic Foreign Mission Society of America

Alumni students: (Chris Brown SRS 2011/Providence College 2019), (Cyril Brown SRS 2013/Fairfield U,. 2021), (AJ Vitiello SRS 2014/The New School 2022), and  (Caroline Brown SRS 2016/Penn State 2024).

Active Parishioner of St. Rose for 12 years

“My 2 year International experience with Habitat for Humanity in Papua New Guinea taught me about “Love in the Mortar joints”. As a St. Rose Board member, I am humbled to contribute to building upon a strong foundation that the school’s past and present staff, teachers, families and religious represent. I am inspired by the success of my children and the strong loving structure they found at SRS. This School’s community provides something unique that comes from a commitment in Faith that provides the children, their parents and the community with an extra edge in the everyday and especially in the most challenging of times. It is a privilege to serve the SRS board from my experiences in working to create an A+ atmosphere.”

Kate O'Connor

Mrs. Kate O’Connor

HSA President and school representative, SAB

Kate is a communications professional who primarily supports biotech and pharma companies as an external consultant. Prior to launching her own firm, Mrs. O'Connor was Head of US Communications for Boehringer Ingelheim. In this role, she led a high-performing team of communications professionals and was responsible for internal and external communications, including product communications, rapid response to issues, company positions on a range of topics and advising senior leaders as a trusted counselor. Prior to Boehringer Ingelheim, she spent several years in the pharmaceutical and consumer health divisions at Novartis, supporting a range of products and therapeutic areas. She began her career at a public relations agency in New York.

The three O'Connor children have attended St. Rose of Lima School since Kindergarten, with the oldest graduating in 2020. Mrs. O'Connor has served the school in many capacities as a parent volunteer since 2011, including as the president of the St. Rose Home & School Association from 2018-present. She and her husband Kevin hare active members of St. Rose Parish.

Lori Luciano

Mrs. Lori Luciano

Marketing/Fundraising Committee, SAB

Bachelor of Science in Public Health

Co-owner the Deerfield Organization, Inc.

Alumni children: Isabella Luciano (2013) and Thomas Luciano (2015)

Parishioner 28 years

“St. Rose School is a very special place for myself and my family. From the moment we toured the Preschool, my husband and I felt completely at home. We were met with smiling faces, a warm welcome, and kind people. There was no doubt that St. Rose School was where we wanted our children to attend school. Both of my children attended St. Rose School from Preschool through 8th grade. Being at St. Rose gave them a top notch education, lasting friendships they maintain to this day, and the moral foundation that has carried them through high school and college.
I have experience with event planning and fundraising and look forward to using these skills to help St. Rose grow stronger and flourish. It is my hope that many more children will benefit from the education, friendships, and faith based foundation that St. Rose School is known for. I am honored for this opportunity and look forward to contributing to SAB in any way I can advance this initiative.”

Stephen Pagliaro

Mr. Stephen Pagliaro

Facilities Committee, SAB

B.S. Computer Information Systems, Quinnipiac University

MBA, Loyola College, Maryland

Stephen, his wife Cathy, and their four children have lived in Newtown and been members of St. Rose Parish since 2008. Both Stephen and Cathy were born and raised in the New Haven area, but have lived in Baltimore, MD and Surrey, England for a total of 15 years before returning to CT to settle here in 2008.

Steve has been a stay-at-home Dad for 20 years. Raising his four children, who are all SRS alumni, Antonio (2010), Dominic (2012), Gino (2013) and Maria (2016) across two continents has been the greatest accomplishment in his life. All four children went on to Catholic high schools. The boys graduated from Steve’s alma mater, Notre Dame of West Haven, and Maria graduated from Cathy’s alma mater, Sacred Heart Academy in Hamden. All of the children went on to college.

Prior to taking on the role of “Director of Family Affairs for the Pagliaro Estate”, Steve worked at various companies as a software project manager and software developer in the insurance and loan processing industries.

John Cavallero

Mr John Cavallero

Marketing/Fundraising Committee, SAB

BA in Economics, Fairfield University

Board Member Dolan School of Business at Fairfield University

Owner/operator of Orangetheory Fitness Guilford & New Haven

25yrs experience at Nestle, Kraft, Nabisco, Heinz and Citicorp in Sales and Business Strategy

Alumni student: Olivia, Class of 2016