FRAMINGHAM, MA - During her three years as the Principal of Joseph P. Keefe Technical School, Patricia Murray Canali's commitment to the school community, students, and faculty has left a mark that will not be soon forgotten when she retires at the close of the 2010-2011 school year.
"She brought everything she had every day," said Superintendent-Director James Lynch. "During her time at Keefe, she set a new standard of commitment by a leader to the school community."
With a career that began in career technical education more than thirty years ago, Canali has served in the roles of ESL Teacher, Guidance Counselor, Director of Guidance and Assistant Principal at career technical high schools and traditional comprehensive high schools throughout Massachusetts before joining the Keefe Tech administrative team as Principal in July of 2008.
For Canali, one of her most important goals as Principal was to focus on empowering students through more leadership opportunities. "I wanted to put more power in the hands of our students so they could take pride in the things they accomplished," she explained. From supporting the decision to change their school mascot from the Unicorns to the Broncos, to allowing students to plan, organize, and manage pep rallies, Canali's belief in her students has been met with enthusiasm at every turn.
Most recently, Canali supported the creation of the Keefe Tech Leadership Academy to encourage students to give back to the community, including a visit to Camp Sunshine in Maine and a fundraiser for Relay For Life.
Her level of commitment has extended to all facets of student education and life. Principal Canali helped to revamp the Freshman Career Exploratory Program from separate classes to fully integrated career technical classrooms and encouraged students to complete a career-themed Senior Project. She worked to update the school's academic offerings, creating 84-minute block scheduling classes for freshmen and sophomores, offering honors courses at all four grade levels, and instituting grading trimesters instead of quarters, which resulted in better student performance.
She also supported students and faculty in the development of a Drama Club and the addition of new athletic teams including Golf, Lacrosse, JV Girls Soccer and Boys Volleyball. On top of that, students could count on seeing her smiling face as she greeted school buses every morning and always knew she would be dressed in blue and orange each Friday for Spirit Day.
In three years' time, Canali impacted the spirit of the Keefe Tech community in a concentrated effort to bring students, faculty, and administrators together. Under her direction, students and faculty created the Multicultural Committee, which resulted in the Hall of International Flags in the student cafeteria. She also headed a school-wide effort to create ten committees that met once a month regarding topics including Safety and Professional Development, and then reviewed progress at each year's end.
"I wanted to ensure that our academic and career technical programs were integrated, and that all of our departments were working together to make our efforts as successful as possible," Canali noted. "Our students are very goal-oriented and our faculty and staff have set the tone for them. Here, they get the best of both worlds and come away with the life skills they need to be successful whether they choose college or the workforce."
Among her most memorable moments from her tenure as Principal was the newly formatted graduation ceremony of her very first graduating class in 2009. "We changed the ceremony around and put the students in center stage and gave them more speaking roles," Canali remembers. "Our graduates rose to the occasion and it turned out to be a lovely event."
As her 38-year career in education comes to a close, Canali looks to the future with plans on spending more time with her husband and enjoying her five grandchildren. As a final piece of advice to the students of Keefe Tech, Canali said, "I would tell students to take advantage of every opportunity and to really make something of their high school years. It will serve them well in the future."
"From day one, she made a huge personal and professional commitment. In her three years as Principal, we reaped the benefits of a person of high quality in every aspect of everything they do. She has been an excellent leader and will be greatly missed," Lynch noted.
Joseph P. Keefe Technical School is a four-year high school located in Framingham, MA and is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. In addition to 13 career and technical programs, Keefe Tech offers a complete college preparatory program to students from the communities of Ashland, Framingham, Holliston, Hopkinton and Natick.