November 18, 2021

Blackfriars appoints David Ruggiero as new Principal

The Blackfriars old scholar and current Deputy Principal brings a wealth of leadership and educational experience to the Catholic boys’ school.

When Blackfriars Principal Simon Cobiac announced he would retire at the end of 2021, David Ruggiero knew he wanted to lead the school.

“Absolutely, there was no doubt,” said Mr Ruggiero, who will become Blackfriars’ 11th Principal in January.

“I have a deep passion for Blackfriars, a connection, it feels like home.”

That connection runs deep – Mr Ruggiero is a Blackfriars old scholar and the school’s current Deputy Principal.

Announcing the appointment, Blackfriars Board Chair David O’Loughlin said Mr Ruggiero’s breadth of experience in education and exposure to a variety of teaching methods, school cultures and co-curricular activities were considered “great strengths”.

“Equally, his professional development has been comprehensive,” Mr O’Loughlin said.

Mr Ruggiero’s career journey started at Thomas More College in 1997. Along with teaching religious education, biology, ICT, mathematics and science, he held a variety of leadership roles.

The growth to leadership was quietly inspired by the example of Mr Ruggiero’s late father, Andy Ruggiero; those qualities were formed early in life, guided by his father’s example of faith and integrity as a leader.

“Dad being involved in supermarket retail was a really significant influence in my life in leadership,” he said.

“Dad was chair of Tom’s/IGA Supermarkets for a quite a period of time (before the Foodland rebrand) and that sense of business and leadership was instilled in me from a young age. That really formed me … that life experience of being involved in a small-business family with strong Catholic values.”

From Thomas More College, Mr Ruggiero moved to executive leadership roles at St Columba College, St Paul’s College, Christian Brothers College and Marymount College.

During those years, he completed two Master’s degrees – in Religious Education and Educational Leadership and Administration.

He also spent four years working on a PhD, examining the relationship between mental health, spirituality and staff professional formation.

“I’ve have had the privilege of working closely with a variety of principals… and you see the impact of leadership on staff, students, families and the wider community,” Mr Ruggiero said.

“Education and the world around us are always evolving and we need to ensure we proactively adapt.”

In 2012, he returned to Blackfriars, first as Assistant Principal: Religious Identity and Mission (APRIM) and then as Deputy Principal (Secondary) from 2018.

Mr Ruggiero, who still counts friends made during his years as a student at Blackfriars among his closest mates, said his leadership style could best be summed up in one word: integrity.

“Who I am is who I am,” he said. 

“I’m a leader who is spiritual, reflective and collaborative. I see myself as empathetic to the needs of our community. And I love a laugh. I always have.”

Mr Ruggiero had a passion to make Blackfriars even better.

“I have the students at heart. The key aspect of leading a school is that you never forget the reason you’re here is for the students. Without thriving students, we don’t exist,” he said.

His response to his appointment as Principal was simple.

“It’s been humbling, to say the least. I don’t think there’s another word for it.”




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