Award Year: 2013

Aquinas Academy

388 South Livingston Aven
Livingston, NJ, 07039-3914

(973) 992-1587

Lena Picillo OP, Principal at time of Nomination

Archdiocese of Newark

School Website


To develop strong Catholic values, inspire academic excellence, nurture intellectual curiosity, encourage social justice and service to others

Student Demographics
  • Black/African American: 20%
  • White: 50%
  • Hispanic: 10%
  • Hawaiian/Pacific Islander: 3%
  • Asian: 15%
  • Two or more races: 2%

Aquinas Academy, a Catholic school in Livingston, New Jersey, has been educating students since 1952. Catholic identity and faith development are the essence of the mission of Aquinas Academy. Solid ethical principles are instilled in students to guide them throughout their lives. Today’s culturally-diverse students travel as far as fifty miles to attend preschool through eighth grade each day.

The school’s rigorous curriculum adheres to the Archdiocese of Newark guidelines in conjunction with the New Jersey Core Curriculum Content Standards and Common Core State Standards. In preparing students for the 21st century, teachers use the multidisciplinary STEM approach and the power of technology to enhance traditional textbook materials throughout the curriculum. All classrooms are equipped with iPads, laptops, and SMARTBoards, allowing teachers to meet individual students’ needs for remediation, reinforcement, and enrichment.

Teachers, parents, and administrators recognize that well-rounded students are not formed in classrooms alone. Aquinas embraces opportunities to partner with community members to make real-life connections to the school’s curriculum and strengthen academic experiences. Throughout the year, students take part in community outreach projects to support those less fortunate. In 2012, the Stuff-the-Bus food collection program, in partnership with the Livingston Public Schools, directly assisted the Ventor, New Jersey community after Superstorm Sandy’s devastation. Students regularly assist at the St. John’s Soup Kitchen, sort food at the Community FoodBank of New Jersey, and visit local nursing homes.

Aquinas Academy is dedicated to the success of all its students and is committed to graduating children who will be leaders and role models for their generation, spreading the message, “Be a Peaceful Presence.”