The longtime teacher follows in the footsteps of Sister Rose Torma, who led the school located on 61-17 Grand Avenue, for more than 30 years, and former principal Barbara DeMaio, who presided over the school during the last two-and-a-half years after moving from Most Precious Blood in Astoria when it closed.
Mangone arrived at St. Stan’s directly after graduating from St. Joseph’s College in 1980. After teaching first grade for five years, she took a brief maternity leave and returned to the school, when she began teaching fifth grade.
At the time, two fourth-grade classes had been condensed into a 40-student fifth-grade class, which had its challenges, but Mangone was able to steer the ship successfully.
Over the course of her career, Mangone taught first, third, fifth and eighth grade. After her second child was born, she said she nearly left teaching, but with a retiring librarian on their hands, the school reached out to Mangone about the part-time opportunity.
She ended up working as a librarian from 1988 and 1993, which she described as the “perfect situation” for her family.
“I’ve really been around the whole building, and I’ve taught almost every class except second and fourth grade,” Mangone said.
Though she’ll make adjustments for her new role, the transition from longtime teacher to interim principal works for Mangone because of her experience at St. Stan’s, as well as one other special quality: she loves people.
“I like to listen to people and I like to get ideas from people,” she said. “I’m a people person, so I like to get out there and talk to them.”
At a time when numerous Catholic schools are closing around Queens and Brooklyn, Mangone believes there are several reasons why St. Stan’s is here to stay.
“This has been more like a family than just a school,” she said.
Especially during the Sister Rose era, St. Stan’s administrators have understood the importance of money management since it opened in 1934. So while other schools may have suffered from lower enrollment numbers, that isn’t an issue with St. Stan’s.
Furthermore, Monsignor Joseph Calise and Father Edward Doran of St. Stanislaus and Transfiguration parishes are both educators who hope to bring the value of education to the forefront.
Calise taught for 13 years, ten of which he served as principal at Cathedral Prep School and Seminary in Elmhurst. Doran, on the other hand, has worked at Seton Hall University and is currently an adjunct professor at St. John’s University.
Mangone praised the school for always taking the extra step.
“We’re creating Christian citizens, and that’s what we’re supposed to be doing,” she said. “We want to make sure that they stand up for what they believe in.”
Creating the best environment for students has always been a priority. Last year, St. Stan’s made a series of improvements, including bathroom renovations.
Students are accepted into top high schools like Regis, Stuyvesant, Townsend Harris and Bronx Science every year. Each St. Stan’s student who applies to a Catholic school gets accepted.
There are also strong connections with local colleges like St. John’s University and St. Joseph’s College. In addition to working with student-teachers from the school, some of the St. Stan’s teacher training courses are held at St. John’s.
With 217 students from nursery school to eighth grade, interest is strong among parents in the community. There are currently only a couple of slots left in nursery, which contains 20 students, and kindergarten, which has 25 students, for next year.
On April 16, Mangone is holding a meeting with parents, but if they are interested in speaking with her sooner, Mangone is always available.
“Communication is important,” she said. “The community has love for us and we have love for the community.”