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'People will follow his lead.' Tom Coppola '01 begins tenure as 25th principal of CHS
CHS Staff

Tom Coppola ’01 and Andrea-Tyrpak-Endres are pictured in classroom 1E2, where she taught him religion as a freshman, sophomore and junior. 


Tom Coppola '01 began his tenure as principal and executive vice president for academics at Canisius High School on Friday. The Dean of Students at Canisius for the last eight years, he is the 25th principal in the history of our 152-year-old institution.

This fall, Andrea Tyrpak-Endres will return to teaching, help administer the CHS House System and mentor new teachers following eight years as principal. The first female to hold the role at Canisius, she matches Rev. Lorenzo K. Reed, S.J., (1940-48) for the longest tenure of a CHS principal. 

This is her final "From The Principal's Office" message written for CHS Today magazine. It was published in the current Spring issue. 



I think Tom Coppola might be the only student I ever taught for three years. Certainly, he was one of the only ones because I went from teaching freshmen and juniors to sophomores and juniors, and he just kind of fell all the way through. By junior year, we both knew each other well – including how to push each other's buttons. But he was always a very good kid and a very good student. 

I was really happy when he wanted to come back to Canisius to teach. I thought he would be great at it, which he was. He has been a strong Dean of Students, and I think he will make a tremendous principal. 

A generation before mine, it was common for people to come to a job after completing their education and stay there until they retired. Canisius was no exception – it’s what kept traditions alive. This is so rare today. To see someone like Tom Coppola, who wants to pay it forward by doing that, makes me very hopeful for the future.

Tom has first-rate abilities and qualities. I have always thought that, but COVID proved it. He did a phenomenal job leading our response to the pandemic, right from Day One. It was one of the most difficult things I’ve seen this school face.

People don't remember that in the early days of the pandemic, things were literally changing by the week and then by the day – making it essential to constantly pivot and say to the entire school community, “OK, now we're gonna do this” and days later, “now we need to do that.” Of course, there was a lot of collaboration and it was a team effort, but you still needed somebody to lead. Tom was that leader. 

Tom has an exceptional rapport with students and he has a solid memory of his days as a student here. He does a great job in speaking to and dealing with the kids with the understanding of what it's like to be a student here – and making that real on their terms, in their day, at their level. It is so important to have someone who understands Canisius and understands our students. Tom does both.

Tom is good-natured and has a great personality. He is very open to people. I think that openness will be a real positive in his new position. Tom is just a very good soul. He’s not a people-pleaser, but he likes things to be harmonious, and he'll work to keep things running smoothly. Nothing about him is fake or fabricated. He is genuine. That will be a strong point. 

People will follow his lead.


Ms. Andrea Tyrpak-Endres

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