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St. Viator School Principal Builds Success

October 17, 2019

Mrs. Lisa Rieder began her second year as principal of St. Viator Parish School in Chicago this year, and enrollment numbers continue to build. Perhaps they sense a true Viatorian identity within the school, from the pastor and principal, on down.

Principal Lisa Rieger with a recruiter from Notre Dame College Prep.

Mrs. Rieder is a veteran educator, who graduated in May with her master’s degree in administration and supervision from Loyola University’s. As part of its unique Catholic Principal Preparation Program program — housed within the university’s Andrew M. Greeley Center for Catholic Education — Rieder was assigned a mentor, who as it turns out cut his teeth as an educator in a Viatorian school.

Pete Tantillo at Saint Viator High School, 1972

Peter Tantillo is a retired administrator who served as principal of several Catholic schools in Chicago and its suburbs, as well as a consultant for the Archdiocese of Chicago’s Office of Catholic Schools.

Pete Tantillo, center, is congratulated by Cardinal Blase Cupich, left, and Msgr. John Pollard when he retired.

But he began his career as a math teacher at Saint Viator High School in the 1970s, under Fr. Patrick Render, CSV, principal. Ironically, Fr. Render now serves as pastor of St. Viator Parish and School, and Tantillo’s wife, Marilyn Pratl, is a graduate of St. Viator School.

“When I heard Fr. Pat was beginning the principal search, I immediately thought of Lisa,” Tantillo says, “and what a wonderful match she would be with the school.”

He connected the two and the rest is history.

Tantillo says that while working with Rieder through Loyola’s program — as well as with other candidates — he shared the values and beliefs that he had experienced during his early teaching years at Saint Viator High School, including that all learning is connected, people learn best in relationship and that learning should be exciting and meaningful for students.

“These core values and beliefs formed me as an educator — and remain with me today,” Tantillo says. “This is constructivist, Catholic educational philosophy and what I consider the Viatorian educational mission to be.”