By STEFANIE SEARS
for Montclair Local
Dr. William Hambleton has had plenty of experience with Catholic schools. He has been head of school at La Salle Academy and School of the Holy Child, both in New York, where he resides.
His newest venture is as head of school for Lacordaire Academy, where he has succeeded the now-retired Brian Morgan.
Hambleton grew up in Utah in a Catholic family and upon graduating from high school initially considered becoming a priest.
Things changed when he went to college and developed an interest in philosophy and education.
He received a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Pontifical College Josephinum in Columbus, Ohio; a bachelor of sacred theology degree from University of St. Thomas Aquinas, Rome; and a doctoral degree in educational administration from the University of San Francisco.
Hambleton is loyal toward Catholic schools.
“I really admire the independent school world. My professional life has always been in Catholic education,” Hambleton said. “I think the independent school world gives us a lot of freedom and the ability to explore dimensions in the lives of students that maybe isn’t done in public schools in the same way.
“In Catholic schools, I think my own faith life resonates with the values that I’ve seen in Catholic schools, particularly in Catholic independent schools, and I think it’s a nice cross section to be able to see a complementary in my personal life and my professional life.”
Lacordaire, which was founded by the Dominican Sisters of Caldwell and whose campus is on Park Street, has coed pre-K through eighth grades in its lower and middle school, and an all-girls upper school.
Hambleton is using his first year as an opportunity to understand the institution. He believes his greatest goals are providing the best education possible for the students, ensuring enrollment balance between the upper and lower schools, and staying on point with the Dominican Sisters’ mission.
In September, Hambleton attended the UN-sponsored Zero Emissions Summit on Citizens’ Role in Mitigating Climate Change conference in New York City. There he formed a partnership with One World Foundation, the conference’s co-sponsor, to focus on global competence.
One change that he is incorporating at Lacordaire is signing the Carbon Neutral Pledge. This means the school will measure its carbon footprint and determine ways to reduce it, such as determining power usage, transportation, and approaching waste. It also means introducing programs to offset the carbon footprint, such as planting a sustainable garden and having classes and groups take on projects in the community.
“I think as members of a global community it is important for us as an educational institution to model for our students responsible global citizenship,” Hambleton said. “Being part of that is really taking a look at what our carbon footprint looks like. This first year will be measuring that with different metrics and then after we assess where we are, then we start to find way to reduce our carbon footprint. The school takes a lead in that by demonstrating how we can contribute to the overall health of our environment.”
Another cause Hambleton holds dear is the issue of homelessness and he appreciates the acts of volunteering at soup kitchens and running both clothing and food drives. Having a 7-year-old daughter further inspires his work toward gender equality; Hambleton is resolved to help young women find their voices.
Experienced as both a teacher and head of school, he appreciates both direct contact with students and focusing on the overall school mission.
Morgan gave Hambleton some insight into the tiny school by praising the family community’s generosity.
Hambleton says he is very excited to be heading Lacordaire Academy, and is looking forward to celebrating Lacordaire’s 100th anniversary in two years.