Dr. Barbara McGraw Edmondson, superintendent of schools for the Archdiocese of Baltimore since 2010, will leave the position at the end of June to serve as chief leadership and program officer for the National Catholic Educational Association.
“I will greatly miss the educators, students and my colleagues (at archdiocesan headquarters) and will cherish my 17 years in Catholic education in the Archdiocese of Baltimore,” Edmondson said in a statement.
She expects the “legacy of Catholic education” to “continue to flourish, due to the unwavering commitment of so many dedicated principals, teachers, parents, students, clergy and countless others who work hard every day to improve Catholic education in this archdiocese,” she added.
Edmondson served as the first principal of the 800-student School of the Incarnation in Gambrills, from 2000 to 2010. Prior to that, she had served as president of St. Ambrose School in Cheverly, a school of the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C.
The Arlington, Va.-based NCEA is the largest private professional education organization in the world, representing more than 150,000 Catholic educators who serve nearly two million students in Catholic preschool, elementary and secondary schools.
In her new position, which she will begin July 24, Edmondson will be responsible for the oversight of NCEA’s leadership and professional development teams and programs, as well as associated core products, events, assessments, special programs and consulting services.
“I am excited to welcome Dr. Barbara McGraw Edmondson to NCEA, and I’m eager to work with her to advance a comprehensive approach to leadership and professional development that will best serve our wonderful Catholic school teachers and leaders, as we together fulfill the mission of the Church,” said NCEA President/CEO Dr. Thomas Burnford.
The leadership development opening was an opportunity “to expand and enhance NCEA’s services through this new senior role of chief leadership and program officer,” he added.
“I am honored and most excited to join the NCEA team and to have the opportunity to work with Catholic school educators from dioceses throughout the nation to advance the legacy of excellence in education and to make Christ present to those we serve,” said Edmondson, who holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s degree in educational psychology from Montclair (N.J.) State University, and a doctorate in education, human development, from George Washington University in Washington, D.C.
Baltimore Archbishop William E. Lori said in a statement that the archdiocese and its schools “owe a huge debt of gratitude to Dr. Edmondson for her many years of devoted service.”
“While we are deeply saddened by the news of her departure,” the archbishop continued, “we are grateful that she will continue to share her many talents and gifts for the benefit of Catholic schools in our archdiocese, as well as dioceses throughout the United States.”
James B. Sellinger, archdiocesan chancellor of Catholic schools, will oversee a national search for a new superintendent.
“It has been rewarding to work alongside Dr. Edmondson these past three years,” he said in a statement. “She is a consummate professional whose dedication, teamwork and leadership has established a strong academic foundation that has well-positioned our Catholic schools for continued growth.”
A New Jersey native, Dr. Edmondson was raised at St. Andrew the Apostle Parish in Bayonne, where she attended the parish school.
“Our social life, sports, theater, whatever we did as kids, centered around the parish,” she told the Catholic Review in 2016. “On a Saturday afternoon, out riding our bikes or roller skating, if it was 3 o’clock, we’d stop in for confession.”
Of her first teaching job, at Our Lady of Victories in Sayreville, N.J., she said, “It felt right, to teach religion and talk about Jesus, especially with the young children.”
“I was drawn to give back to what had given so much to me,” she continued.