Our Mission

Rooted in Gospel values that affirm the dignity of every person, we foster the educational, spiritual, and social well-being of people with disabilities through direct services at Saint Catherine Academy and our Adult Services Program, and support for faith formation in the parishes and inclusion in Catholic schools of the Diocese of Bridgeport.

Through Our Core Values...

  • We respect the dignity and diversity of each person.
  • We serve people of all races, ethnicities, faiths, and economic backgrounds.
  • We focus on the total well-being of each person we serve.
  • We create a supportive and welcoming atmosphere, where each person feels a sense of belonging.
  • We celebrate the abilities and successes of each person.
  • We seek to build interpersonal relationships in a nurturing community.
  • We bring hope and joy to our students, clients, families, staff, and community partners.

Our Organization

BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Charles F. Chiusano, Chairman
Michael LaBella, Vice Chairman

Diane Auray
Steven Cheeseman, Ed.D.
Stephen Donahue
Jerry Hemenway, MD
Edward Lenard, MD
Anthony Minopoli
Michelle Rivelli, MD
Joseph Sindelar, Jr.
Thomas Vita
Monsignor Robert Weiss
Kelly Luff Weldon
Sara Zagrodzky
LEADERSHIP
Saint Catherine Center
Helen Burland, Executive Director hburland@diobpt.org
Laura Grozier, Director of Operations lgrozier@stcatherineacademy.org
Saint Catherine Academy
Adult Services

Eric Spencer, Director of Education
eric.spencer@diobpt.org

Brady Cronin, Director of Adult Services
bcronin@stcatherineacademy.org

A Brief History

Saint Catherine Academy opened in 1999 on the campus of the Catholic Center in Bridgeport as a school dedicated to students with special needs. In June 2003, the Academy was approved by the State of Connecticut Department of Education (CDE) as a private special education program and began accepting placements from area public school districts, as well as directly from parents. As enrollment grew, a capital campaign was initiated in 2005 to fund a new facility at our current site in Fairfield, Connecticut, which opened in the fall of 2007.

The CDE has extended approval every five years, most recently in 2018. In 2012, the CDE approved an expansion of diagnoses served to include students on the autism spectrum. 

Recognizing the need for continuing support for individuals with disabilities, the Center’s Adult Services Program opened in 2015 for adults ages 21 and above. The program is approved by the Connecticut Department of Developmental Services (DDS).

Saint Catherine Center for Special Needs was established in 2014 as an umbrella organization comprised of Saint Catherine Academy; the Adult Services Program; and the Office of Parish & Community Support.