After growing up in Massapequa, Long Island, and getting a Bachelor's in Health Education and Physical Education from the University of South Carolina in 1979, Carey moved back up north and found work in the high school.
Although Carey said he didn't plan on being a school principal for his career, he knew he wanted to work in a building with kids. However, he is happy with how things turned out.
"What I like about it is you have ideas that you want to improve the school,” Carey said, “and you actually have a say in that.
"You really have an affect on what's going to be happening in the school, how the kids get education, I really enjoy that,” he said.
Carey went back to school while working at Monsignor McClancy to get a Master's at Adelphi University in Physiology and then an Administration Degree from St. John's University in 1995.
Now he is bringing McClancy to the next level of education: it is going co-ed.
Carey said that when he's visited grammar schools in the area, he noticed a disproportionate ratio of many more girls than boys in the classes.
"If we buried our heads in the sand and did not see the demographics changing, we'd be in trouble,” he said of the decision to change.
The school, which now has about 450 students, will raise its population to 600 next year when it brings in about 150 freshman girls, Carey said.
He said McClancy is well prepared for the change, including $2 million in capital improvements from funds raised by staff and alumni.
As for the students, Carey said the girls will improve the school environment.
"The girls at that age are very serious about their grades, not all of them but most of them,” he said, “and I think that will flow over very nicely to the boys too.”