St. Monica’s principal calls it a (second) career

After 35 years of education, former geophysicist Vincent Tanzini is retiring

FROM TUNDRA TO CLASSROOM: Vincent Tanzini started his career in geophysics before switching to education.

Education was not Principal Vincent Tanzini’s first career choice.

The 62-year-old is seated in his office at St. Monica Catholic School. The walls are showing evidence of his impending retirement. He’ll end his tenure on March 31 and Barbara Capano, currently Vice Principal at St. Andre Catholic School, will take over.

His belongings have been cleared out of his office since March Break.

He talked about yearbook photos, muddy trips to the escarpment and his need to visit every class to say hello and occasionally test his charges. As for the early departure, it’s simple:

“The bulk of work required to prepare our school for next year takes place in the spring of the current year,” he said. “This seems to be an optimal time for a leadership transition.”

Tanzini first took the helm of the school on Broadway Avenue near Yonge Street five years ago. He had moved to the school after his first gig as a principal in Bloordale Village.

His first career was in geophysics. He worked with a mineral exploration firm based out of Concord, Ont. With a recession fast approaching in the early 1980s, Tanzini was proactive and decided to follow in the footsteps of his older brother, Marcello.

“I had a chance to do really exciting and demanding work,” he said. “I travelled around the world on different survey crews.”

And he made sure his students had a chance to see the world through his eyes when he became a science and math teacher 35 years ago. He spent 20 years in the classroom at the secondary school level, before switching to elementary during his administrative years.

“Your siblings and friends do influence you, but I’m happy to say in a good way,” he added.

In all the years he’s been active, the most satisfying parts have been the meaningful opportunities to educate and the collaborative relationships he’s forged with his staff.

Tanzini took a moment and expressed his concern about whether or not his colleagues enjoyed muddy trips to the escarpment for classes.

“Field trips were a big thing for me with the natural sciences — just creating opportunities for students to excel and enjoy life,” he said. “That and teamwork — building relationships with your teachers. I’ve dragged all these teachers to these field trips and wondered if they were out of their comfort zone.”

St. Monica’s is holding an assembly to celebrate Mr. Tanzini’s tenure March 28. His last day will be March 31.

From then on, he said his family and catching up on projects around the house will be on his agenda.

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