Alumnus Lou Tobacco, Class of 1990, Named President & CEO of Monsignor Farrell High School

“I am so honored and excited that the Board of Trustees of Monsignor Farrell High School, with Cardinal Timothy Dolan’s approval, has chosen me to be the first President and CEO of Monsignor Farrell High School.”
– President Lou Tobacco
Class of 1990

The Monsignor Farrell High School Board of Trustees announced that alumnus Lou Tobacco has been named President and CEO of Monsignor Farrell High School.

The announcement was made on Wednesday, May 22, 2019 by Monsignor Thomas J. Bergin, chairman of the board of trustees following an extensive search and interview process.

“I think Lou epitomizes everything that Farrell stands for,” said Monsignor Bergin, who served as Farrell’s principal from 1983 – 1992. “He is a man of faith, a Vir Fidelis – a faithful man, a solid family man, and just the kind of person that we are interested in being the leader of Farrell.”

“I am grateful to the Board of Trustees of Monsignor Farrell High School for nominating Lou Tobacco as the first president of the school,” said Cardinal Dolan. “As an alumnus, Lou exemplifies what we hope our students become: good men who make a difference in the community because of a firm commitment to our Faith. I expect that Lou will do great things to continue the Farrell tradition.”

Lou joins Larry Musanti, whom the board named principal earlier this year, to complete the school’s leadership team.

Prior to being named CEO and president, Lou served as the associate executive director of community and government affairs for Staten Island University Hospital, Northwell Health. He has also held the titles of senior director of external affairs, as well as director of surgical business development at the hospital.

City and State Magazine named Lou as one of the Top 100 Staten Island Power Players of 2018 and 2019, as well as one of the Top 25 Most Influential Staten Islanders of 2017.

The Tobacco family: Madison, Luke ’27, Jennifer, Christian ’22, Lou ’90, and Ella

Lou is also a former New York State Assemblyman, having been elected to three consecutive terms from 2007 – 2012. Representing the 62nd New York State Assembly legislative district (Staten Island), Lou served with distinction as the ranking member on the Health Committee. He was also appointed to the powerful Committee on Ways and Means, as well as committees on Higher Education, Codes, Transportation, Cities, Corporations, Authorities, Commissions and numerous subcommittees.

Before being elected to public office, Lou enjoyed over thirteen highly successful years in pharmaceutical sales, first with Novartis and eventually with Pfizer Inc., where he received The Vice President’s Cabinet Award, Pfizer’s top sales honor.

Lou started his career in public service in 1994 as the Assistant Director of Contract Oversight in the Office of the Staten Island Borough President. He then served as the Director of Community Relations for the Borough President from 1996-1997.

In 1994, Lou earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in political science with a minor in communications from the University of Albany’s prestigious Rockfeller College of Public Affairs and Policy, one of the nation’s leading public affairs institutions. While in college, Lou was selected to the New York State Assembly Intern Program, serving in the office of Assemblyman Robert Straniere.

“As an alumnus, I’m so excited to be back in these hallways. I cannot wait to get started to work with our faculty and administration. I will be standing on the shoulders of the giants that have gone before me, such as Monsignor Bergin, Monsignor Finn, Monsignor Nevin, and Monsignor Whalen. I look forward to all of us – administration, faculty, students, parents, and alumni, working together as one team to bring Farrell, in an exciting way, to new heights.” – Lou Tobacco

A 1990 graduate of Monsignor Farrell High School, Lou served as student council president as well as the Superdance Chairman during his senior year.

While at Farrell, Lou was also a member of the Italian Club, 36 Neediest Families Drive, The Farrell Players, the Mock Trial Team, Prom Committee, Teaching the Christian Message, Big Brother, and Students Against Drunk Driving. He also attained the rank of Eagle Scout at the age of 14.

Monsignor Whalen and Lou talk things over in the Farrell lobby.
All photos courtesy of Vinnie Amessé

“I remember Lou as a freshman,” recalls Farrell Principal Larry Musanti. “He was president of his homeroom class, then he evolved into president of the student council. Now look how far he has come. If he goes at this job with the same energy that he did when he was in high school, he is going to be a terrific president,” adding, “I think we are going to make a great team.”

Lou will officially begin his tenure as Farrell’s first president and CEO on June 17, 2019. The board has tapped him to provide visionary leadership, to enhance the success of its Catholic mission and educational organization, and to ensure the continued viability of its financial and enrollment management.

Monsignor Edmund Whalen, who served as Farrell’s first alumnus principal from 2010 until January 1, 2019 explained the changes in education that led to the decision to move to the President/Principal model.

“Why now, you may ask?” said Monsignor Whalen, whose Farrell tenure ended after being elevated to the position of Vicar for Clergy by Cardinal Dolan. “Education has changed a lot,” noted Monsignor. “There is much more to running a school than the academics. Thank God we have the best in principals right now in Mr. Larry Musanti,” adding, “You could not ask for a more experienced, caring, and dedicated principal than he.”

Monsignor Farrell High School has a marvelous history and I truly believe Lou will usher in an unprecedented era.”
– James Oddo ’84, Staten Island Borough President

In a 2015 article written by Bob Regan of the educational consulting firm Carney, Sando & Associates, the President/Principal model is discussed. Regan writes, “For the past 25 years or so, the President/Principal model has emerged as the leadership structure of choice for many Catholic schools–and for good reason. In this powerful model, executive functions are elegantly aligned around two distinct leadership profiles: the outward-facing entrepreneur and institution-builder (President), and the inward-facing academician and champion of teaching, learning, and best practice (Principal).”

Lou with NYS Senator Andrew Lanza ’82, and NYS Assemblyman Mike Cusick ’87

Lou’s role as president was further explained by Monsignor Whalen. “A president is responsible to pull together all of the various aspects of what it means to run a school. It also means having to put together financially the wherewithal to make that happen. Lou understands that. Lou knows that the job of president is to bring the rest of the community together to help Farrell to be the unique place that it is; the best in Catholic education. I couldn’t be happier to be able to share with you this tremendous news about the future of Farrell, the future of Staten Island, the future of the Church in the world because of what happens here, and Lou is going to make it work. If anyone can exemplify what it means to live as a Vir Fidelis, a faithful man, it is Lou Tobacco.”

In addition to past-principals Bergin and Whalen, many distinguished Farrell alumni have shared their thoughts on the news from their alma matter.

Lou talks with Farrell students in the chapel with Past-Principal Monsignor Edmund Whalen ’76 and John Cusick ’88, Director of Institutional Advancement & Development.

Staten Island Borough President James Oddo, Class of 1984, recognized Lou as “the perfect choice to be Monsignor Farrell High School’s first president.” He added, “I have no doubt that he will spend every waking moment trying to help the young men blessed to walk through the doors of this iconic institution fulfill their potential and propel them forward.” In addition to Lou’s success in business and public service, he is also dedicated to his local community. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Staten Island Economic Development Corporation, the Staten Island Chamber of Commerce, the Seton Foundation for Learning, the Police Organization Providing Peer Assistance, the Joseph Maffeo Foundation, where he serves on the executive board and as chair of the annual casino night fundraiser, as well as the Staten Island Not-for-Profit Association. Farrell alumnus and Richmond County District Attorney Michael E. McMahon also praises Lou’s appointment, noting his love for both Farrell and the community. “Having Lou Tobacco serve as Monsignor Farrell’s first president is both a brilliant and logical choice. His characteristic warmth, enthusiasm and energy will serve the school well as he leads it with inspiration. His abiding Catholic faith, deep love of family and friends, his tireless service to our community as assemblymember and hospital leader, and his powerful commitment to Farrell as a proud and engaged alumnus give him the needed tools and make him, quite simply, the perfect choice.” From 2013 – 2017, Lou was a member of the St. Joseph – St. Thomas Parish Core Team during the Archdiocese’s Making All Things New initiative. He also served as the parish leader as part of the Renew & Rebuild campaign, helping to raise over $1.5 million for a new parish gymnasium, as well as other Archdiocesan initiatives. Lou also provided assistance with solicitation for the annual Cardinal’s Appeal. A native Staten Islander, Lou is the youngest of three children (sister Gina and brother Dominic ’86- also a Farrell alumnus), and was raised in Sunnyside by his parents Dominic, who was a New York City Police Officer, and Justina, who worked as a secretary. Lou resides in Tottenville with his wife Jennifer and their children, Madison, Christian (currently a freshman at Farrell), and their twins Ella and Luke.