“The expression ‘God writes straight with crooked lines’ applies to me vividly,” says Luanne D. Zurlo, the new executive director of the Brilla School Network and its voluntary afterschool program, El Camino. The “crooked” path that brought Zurlo to the Seton team in January 2018 has included teaching elementary and middle school in northern Spain; working with Latin America as a Wall Street equity analyst; founding and directing Worldfund, a non-profit organization focused on raising educational quality in Latin America; and teaching courses in finance, Catholic Social Doctrine, and education reform in developing countries at Catholic University.
Inspired by her grandparents, immigrants from Europe who were never formally educated through high school but in their 80s earned their GEDs, Zurlo has spent much of her life focused on education.
“I was given the most extraordinary education,” she says. “I never took it for granted. I know, in large part, I’m here because of my education.”
Zurlo visited Brilla College Prep in April 2017 and “fell in love” with the joy and the culture she witnessed there.
“School leaders, teachers, and support staff walk the talk,” she says. “This is a virtue-based, classical-based education. You don’t just see platitudes on the wall. … If you know schools, as a visitor you can pick up on the culture and observe whether the words are really lived. The words are really lived here.”
Zurlo says her first goal is to make the Brilla schools even better.
“We want even better outcomes, whether they be academic or otherwise. We’re here to educate the mind, body, and soul, and to do so requires multi-layered elements. … We want to strengthen what we have and incorporate more intentionally the classical learning piece. We’re trying to blend blended learning and classical education in our schools. It’s never really been done.”
She hopes to see growth as well.
“There’s such a need,” she says. “Our challenge is coming up with a thoughtful strategic plan to guide how and where we grow and exactly what it is we’re replicating.”
The entire Seton team is delighted that Zurlo’s “crooked lines” have brought her to Brilla and El Camino!