Zoppo subsequently became a vice principal at the Christian Brothers Academy in Syracuse, N.Y. When superiors insisted he get his master’s degree at Manhattan College, he did it over five summers, commuting back and forth. Syracuse is far enough north that half the students were Red Sox fans, he said, smiling. He endeared himself to them, while antagonizing the other half (Yankee fans), when he allowed a day for wearing Sox gear after the 2004 World Series.
With Syracuse one of America’s snowiest locales, Zoppo leapt at the opportunity to move to Concord, Calif., and De La Salle High School. He told friends there that he’d come for the opportunity of seeing the snow on nearby mountains at a distance.
“I really don’t like snow,” he said, which raised eyebrows when he returned to Syracuse two years later to become the head of that school. “They said I must have done something terribly wrong,” he said, laughing. Later, he became president of Baltimore’s Calvert Hall, “The oldest school the Brothers have in the United States,” he said.
While speaking highly of his colleagues there and his experience in one of America’s premier Catholic cities, he was quick to insist it didn’t make him an Oriole fan.
Staff writer Alan Burke can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.