Adam Biggs, a former NDBG teacher takes over at St. Thomas the Apostle School. (Mike Matvey photo)
Adam Biggs, a former NDBG teacher takes over at St. Thomas the Apostle School. (Mike Matvey photo)

Adam Biggs had always thought about becoming a Catholic school administrator, but it was at a conference three years ago when he really decided to pursue the job.

“I was selected to attend a conference at Notre Dame in Indiana, and while I was there, they talked to us about Catholic school leadership and the importance of strong leadership to help our Catholic schools,” Biggs said. “So that was what really lit the fire in me to want to become an administrator. And certainly during the pandemic, that gave me some time to think about joining a program, which I did at St. Rose (Biggs is currently working on his second master’s degree, in educational leadership and administration) and then the opening came here at St. Thomas and I applied.”

Not only did Biggs, 33, apply for the principal’s job at St. Thomas the Apostle School in Delmar, he got the job and officially took over July 1. Biggs succeeds Thomas Kane, who retired in October 2020 after working at St. Thomas for over 20 years. Ernie Casile then served as interim principal until Biggs was hired.

Biggs, who has spent his entire career in Catholic schools in the Diocese of Albany, taught English Language Arts at Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons School and also is the diocesan ELA chairperson. Biggs is also an adjunct professor at Schenectady Community College, and was National Honor Society moderator and director of drama productions while at NDBG.

“It is always a great joy to see one of our own advance in their careers while remaining in the Diocese’s Catholic school system,” said Giovanni Virgiglio, diocesan superintendent of schools at the time of Biggs’ appointment. “(Adam) has exhibited dedicated excellence for us in the past as a faith-filled educator and leader. We are confident that he will serve the St. Thomas the Apostle community well.”

A Cohoes councilmember and resident, Biggs earned his bachelor’s degree from Siena College, and his first master’s degree in teaching from Clarkson University. Biggs, who is a member of Holy Trinity Parish in Cohoes, takes over a vibrant community that boasts nearly 200 students from pre-k to eighth grade, with an average class size of 15 students.

“I think what really differentiates us at St. Thomas, and really all of our Catholic schools, is that we educate the whole child, which is something that I think we do a better job at than our public school counterparts,” ­Biggs said. “Specifically, by providing a faith outlet for them to learn about God and grow in their own faith. I think our small class sizes really are a big differentiating factor in the fact that our staff knows all the students individually.”

Biggs has already made one big change, bringing back the Spanish program for the entire school where last year it was just available in grades 6-8. He will also teach an eighth-grade literature enrichment course once a week, but since this is his first principal’s job, he will take a collaborative approach with teachers and parents.

“I am certainly learning as I go. What I have shared with the faculty and the families is that I intend to learn from them,” Biggs said. “And the good thing is my experience as a teacher, my experience as a city councilman and the time I have spent in retail and in other capacities has really prepared me well for the job. There certainly are differences in this role compared to teaching — preparing budgets and schedules, so that is a little different — but the educational end has really allowed me to be successful so far.”

He is also excited to work with Father Rick Lesser, pastor at St. Thomas the Apostle Church.

“I am looking forward to working with him. He brings a lot of energy to the parish and to the school,” Biggs said. “Certainly the fact that he had a child go through St. Thomas is very beneficial to us.”

Biggs, who on this particular sunny August day was helping clean the building for the start of school, can’t wait for the halls to be filled with eager, young students.

“I am looking forward to having students in the building and interacting with them,” Biggs said. “Getting a chance to get to know them, certainly as a teacher, that is something that is important to me.”


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