Profile of Mark Musca, Head of School, Albert College
Mark Musca, Head of School (since 2019)
Education runs in Mark Musca’s blood. The Head of School was inspired to enter the field of education by his father who was a Director of Education. Musca spent most of his career with the Catholic District School Board of Eastern Ontario, first as a teacher in both elementary and secondary schools and later as a department head, vice-principal and principal. In 2007, he became Superintendent of Education with the Catholic District School Board of Eastern Ontario; a position he held for eight years. In 2015, he joined the Independent School system and worked as the Principal of Villanova College in York Region for four years prior to being recruited to Albert College. Musca joined Alberta as Head of School in August 2019.
He now lives on campus with his wife and three daughters, two of whom are students at Albert. His oldest is now in university. “I live 127 steps away from the school. It’s the best commute.”
From a purely location standpoint, Musca says there are some great benefits to living at Albert.
“We’re really uniquely located. When you think of the great Canadian outdoors that’s literally at our doorstep. But we’re not so far away from the large city centers.” Moving to Albert was a bit of a homecoming for Musca, who lived in Bellville for six years when he was growing up.
In joining Albert, Musca became truly immersed in all aspects of the school life. “Not only did I come (to Albert) as a staff member, I was also a parent.” Many of the school’s teachers and faculty members send their children to Albert as well, truly giving new meaning to the sense of a school “family”.
The notion of family and community run deep at Albert. The school’s international boarding students are often invited to day students’ homes for holidays. The school has a tight knit community, not only due to the school’s size, but because of the value they place on the Albert community.
Every morning students and faculty gather in the Memorial Chapel, a building that was built in honour and memory of Albert College staff and students who passed away during WWI. “Because it’s an old building, we don’t have a modern PA system, so every other school I’ve worked at morning announcements are done where the Principal is in his or her office speaking over the radio system that’s piped into the classrooms. We don’t have that.” Instead, the whole school gathers in the chapel every morning; a tradition that gives students a chance to connect. “This is how students get to know one another and break down barriers.”
The morning gatherings in Memorial Chapel aren’t the only opportunity students of different grades have to interact with each other. “Because we are so small, for our activities to run (such as choir or band), students from different grades have to participate with each other.” This multi-age mix contributes to creating that sense of community and family that is talked about often at Albert. It’s the first school I’ve seen where students from different grades are close to each other.”
One of the things that attracted Musca to Albert was the emphasis on the 5 A’s: academics, arts, athletics, active citizenship and adventures. “Academics are only part of educating the whole child.” Students participate in camping adventures as well as several arts programs in addition to their academics. “For us, the Ontario Curriculum is the basement, not the ceiling. We are committed to the notion of whole child education and providing each student with opportunities to excel in a variety of areas. We find that by making these co-curricular programs mandatory, students are able to explore an assortment of interests and discover hidden talents.”