Superintendent of Catholic Schools to Retire
By Amanda Hudson, News Editor
January 26, 2023
DIOCESE—Vito DeFrisco, Superintendent of Catholic Schools for the Diocese of Rockford since July 1, 2021, has announced he plans to retire on June 30.
“Some have said I’ll be known as the COVID superintendent,” he says, a bit ruefully, of his tenure throughout all that upheaval. He says he had hoped to accomplish some other things to benefit diocesan schools, but “had to focus mostly on what was needed for COVID.”
He says he takes some comfort in the thought of a friend, who told him that God knew the schools would need him during all those many difficult months.
DeFrisco will be winding up a long career in Catholic education, quite a bit of it in the Rockford Diocese. 
Just prior to serving as superintendent, he served in the diocesan offices as assistant superintendent beginning the end of June 2017. He came to the diocesan Education Office after serving as principal of St. Herbert School in Hoffman Estates for 11 years. That switch, however, felt like “I was coming home,” he says, because he previously served at St. Thomas the Apostle School in Crystal Lake (June 1999-June 2006) and at Marian Central Catholic High School in Woodstock (July 1994-June 1998).
He recalls knowing past superintendent Sister Patricia Downey and even Father James Larson back when he served in the Education Office. All in all, he says the switch to the diocesan work was “comfortable.”
DeFrisco’s education work also included service at the Institute of School and Parish Development in New Orleans and as an adjunct faculty member at Dominican University in River Forest. After he earned a bachelor’s degree in Business/Communication and began work at the American Institute of Banking, even then he says he was doing education work, giving trainings and developing a curriculum.
Retirement will allow him to spend more time with his two daughters and their youngsters, all of whom live close by in the Crystal Lake/Woodstock area. His plans also include future volunteer work at the Railroad Museum in Union — the nation’s largest, he says, and mentions some at-home endeavors that include work on his own model railroad as well as piano lessons.
He’s also kicking around the idea of substitute teaching with his favorite grades 3, 4, and 5, probably because he knows he will “miss having that connection (to education) and the people” when he leaves his position.
“I’ve enjoyed helping the principals and seeing student growth,” DeFrisco says. “I have enjoyed every bit about being here.”
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