Dr. Paul Fallon has a doctorate in education.
“So they don’t think I’m a medical doctor who is suddenly fluent in the world of education,” he jokes.
He’s La Salle Institute’s new principal as of July 1, and he’s hit the ground running meeting up with every member of the school’s faculty, meeting with parents, students and school supporters in what has become 14 to 16-hour days. “I use the term great-busy. … The strongest highlight has been working with the work-study students. They are so driven to be at La Salle, they are willing to put hours in to reduce tuition, so they can be here and stay here.”
Fallon was first introduced to the school eight years ago as he worked as a consultant helping establish charter school in the region. While visiting the campus, he was left with a lasting impression of the student body: students opening the doors, shaking hands and looking him in the eye. “The level of respect, honor. What I thought what they wore on their shoulders was just a shoulder patch. But, they live it.”
La Salle Institute is an independent, Catholic, college preparatory school. Established in 1850 in Troy, by the Brothers of the Christian Schools, La Salle serves young men in grades six through 12. The mission of La Salle is to educate its students in a caring, supportive environment to inspire them to become moral, responsible, and productive members of their communities with a commitment to truth, honor and duty. Fallon is only the third lay principal in the school’s history.
“I was thinking: this. This is the place to be,” said Fallon. “To be able to take the helm of this. I feel that I am privileged. I am deeply humbled, and therefore obligated, to take this school to its fullest potential.”
The Class of 2015 consisted of less than 100 young men, yet earned 343 offers of admission from 145 different schools in 27 different states. In all, 244 scholarships amassing $12.58 million was earned.
And, Fallon looks to add onto those achievements.
“We can’t stop there.” Fallon said. “Until La Salle becomes the requested school by universities, and not just ivy leagues or whatever else, I will not be happy until colleges are calling us and saying ‘send us more like that.’ … I have an ethical responsibility to get them to become leaders of this threatening global society, not just members of this global society.
La Salle will become the premiere student-leader development school in the region,” he said.
Fallon succeeded Brother Carl Malacalza after 13 years to the school community, the last eight of which were as principal. Fallon has 26 years experience as a teacher, coach, athletic director, middle school dean, principal, regional superintendent, and educational consultant.
“Dr. Fallon brings a wealth of educational leadership experience and enthusiasm to the academic family of La Salle Institute,” said Mr. Edward W. Kovalefsky, Chair of the Board of Trustees.
Last month, the institute also launched a new needs-based scholarship program, the Lasallian Achievement Awards, which is to aid exemplary students who otherwise might not have access to the school.
With the financial assistance offered through the Lasallian Achievement Awards, La Salle will expand its reach to enroll more boys from families that may need additional financial assistance. Award recipients will be selected based on academic promise, extracurricular involvement, good character and the potential to excel as leaders at the school and in their communities.
The lead donor for this needs-based scholarship program is The Troy Saving Bank Charitable Foundation, a private organization committed to supporting quality education programs for youth in the greater Capital Region. La Salle Institute will continue to seek additional funding for the Lasallian Achievement Award program from alumni and other community sources.
“One of the characteristics of La Salle Institute that attracted me to the school was the collaborative effort between administration, teachers and parents to foster our cadets’ full potential,” said Fallon. “With the introduction of the Lasallian Achievement Awards, we’re expanding the opportunity for new students to receive this same support and ultimately change their lives.”
Michael Hallisey is managing editor of Spotlight Newspapers.