Cornelius Begley ’96 named 10th principal of Christian Brothers Academy

LINCROFT, New Jersey – April 7, 2022 – The Christian Brothers Academy is pleased to announce that Cornelius “Neil” Begley ’96 has been chosen as the 10th principal in school history.

A science and math teacher at the ABC from 2003 to 2009, Begley returns to the Academy after spending 13 years at St. Leo the Great’s School in Lincroft as vice-principal and principal.

“It’s an honor to return to a place that helped me become the man I am today,” Begley said. “Having spent many years at the ABC, both as a student and a teacher, I am delighted with my new role as principal. I look forward to working with students, faculty, staff and parents as we continue the rich traditions of the ABC.

Begley has led St. Leo’s to new heights since being named the Catholic High School Principal in 2012. Under his leadership, St. Leo’s has twice won the National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence (2012, 2018), the National Green Ribbon School for Sustainable Education and the National Character School Award for School Culture and Values. St. Leo’s maintained full enrollment, with a waiting list, throughout his tenure as director.

“I want to personally congratulate Mr. Begley and welcome him,” said Ross Fales, president-elect and current director of the ABC. “I look forward to working with him on ABC’s mission to holistically develop young men of character in the Lasallian tradition. Mr. Begley is an innovative professional educator who is deeply committed to Catholic education.


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Cornelius “Neil” Begley is the ABC’s new director

Begley will succeed Fales as principal of the ABC, with Fales taking over as school president on July 1. The ABC has followed the President-Principal leadership model for more than 30 years, with Begley assuming the role of “Chief Operating Officer”. He will be responsible for directing the day-to-day academic activities of the Prep School for Boys and essential student functions. He will be the third lay director in the history of the Academy, after Peter Santanello (2012-15) and Fales (2015-22).

Begley’s appointment as the ABC’s 10th director is the result of a search process that took two months and included a search committee of six different stakeholders from various areas of the ABC. The search committee, in addition to the president-elect, narrowed down the list of qualified candidates, conducted interviews with the finalists, and deliberated extensively to reach this exciting conclusion for the future of the CBA.

“I am delighted to have Mr. Begley join the administrative team as the new Director,” said Brother Tom Gerrow, Acting President of the CBA. “I am confident that he and our new President, Mr. Fales, will continue the CBA’s tradition of success well into the future.

Begley has been a champion of whole-person education since his undergraduate studies at the United States Military Academy at West Point, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in economics. He later served as a field artillery officer in the Army, stationed at places such as Fort Bragg in North Carolina and Schofield Barracks in Hawaii.

After his military career ended, Begley found himself at Lincroft at the Academy, teaching standard and specialist physics, algebra II, and geometry. He also played a vital role in promoting student life at the ABC, serving as a student council moderator for several years.

Teaching at the ABC was a natural fit for Begley, as he had embraced the Academy experience as a student. He was a college basketball player, National Honor Society inductee, student council vice president, math team member, and GURU’s primary mentor—all activities in which current ABC students are always involved.

“Being a student at the ABC fostered a foundation of faith, honor and character upon which I have strived to live my life,” Begley said. “My military experience has given me immeasurable skills in being an effective leader and how to lead by example. After serving in the military, I realized that my passion was to teach and guide young people to be their best. Returning to ABC as a teacher taught me how to engage and educate students in a faith-filled environment.

During his time as an ABC teacher, he participated in the Lasallian Leadership Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools. Begley earned her Masters in Educational Leadership and is currently completing her PhD in K-12 Educational Administration, both at Seton Hall University.

“As an ABC graduate and someone who has gone through Lasallian training, I know Mr. Begley understands the unique opportunity the ABC represents for young men in this field,” Fales continued. “Having been a leader for 13 years at another school, Mr. Begley will also be able to bring fresh eyes and a new perspective to the Academy.”

Begley lives in Monmouth County with his wife Jayme and their two children.

About the Christian Brothers Academy:

Christian Brothers Academy (CBA) is an independent Catholic college-prep school for young men located in Lincroft, New Jersey. Founded in 1959 and taught in the Lasallian tradition, the ABC is dedicated to helping students become intellectually mature and morally responsible leaders for the Church and society. Thanks to generous contributions from family and friends of the Academy, the ABC awards more than $1.7 million in scholarships and financial aid to current students. Discover the Academy at

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