Giovanni Virgiglio Can school superintendents every truly say they understand what it’s like to be a student today? After all, it’s been so long since they’ve had the experience themselves.

Unless maybe we’re talking about Giovanni Virgiglio, Superintendent of Catholic Schools for the Albany Diocese. He’s currently a doctoral student in the Educational Leadership program at Sage’s Esteves School of Education.

He’s a very happy student.

“It’s been extremely engaging and purposeful,” Superintendent Virgiglio says. “The assignments, the group projects, the classroom interactions, it’s all been relevant and timely for me in my role as a system leader.”

Over the years, he’s often found himself telling others that, “we need to nourish ourselves professionally.” By enrolling in the Sage program, he says, that’s exactly what he’s done. He feels he’s making himself better able to serve the 5,000 students and 500 teachers in his system.

“I’m responsible for helping to materialize our shared vision and determine the direction we take, which are pretty high stakes,” he says. “I need to have access to the best of the best, and this program is doing that for me.”

Superintendent Virgiglio says he waited years to go back to school for his Ed.D., waiting for the right time. And while he’ll never know if he picked the right time, he feels certain, in Sage, he picked the right place.

“There’s a shared philosophy,” he says. “These are challenging, changing times, and navigating change is never easy. But people come first. Clearly, this program believes this, as do I.”

Superintendent Virgiglio has nothing but praise for his Sage professors. “They walk the talk,” he says.

“They understand the world of education, and they share the practical applications of what’s being taught, from their breadth and depth of experience.”

The hallmark of the program, in Superintendent Virgiglio’s view, is learning from the collective experiences of others in the program. And for someone with 5,000 students to look out for, that’s mightily important.