New presidents, principals to lead Catholic schools

By Elizabeth Lowe
elowe@CatholicReview.org
Fifteen new and interim principals and four presidents have been named at Catholic schools across the Archdiocese of Baltimore for the 2014-15 school year. Their profiles follow: 

Jeanne Blakeslee, principal
Mercy High School, Baltimore
Blakeslee is a familiar face at Mercy. She served there from 1976 to 1998 in positions including teacher and director of the college and career planning program.
Blakeslee is focused on continuing to develop the school’s global perspective.
“We sit here having a personal focus and a global perspective,” she said. “That combination of attention to the talents of the individual and an outward focus on solving problems is going to be an important part of my work.”
Blakeslee held several positions at St. Paul’s School for Girls in Brooklandville from 1998 to 2014, including teacher and dean of students.  
She earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Trinity College in Washington, D.C., a master’s degree in liberal education from St. John’s College in Annapolis and a master’s degree in clinical psychology from Loyola University Maryland in Baltimore.
 

Donna Bridickas, president
The Seton Keough High School, Baltimore
Bridickas, who has spent 23 of her 30 years in Catholic education in all-female institutions, will continue to serve at an all-girls’ school as Seton Keough’s president. From 1999 until earlier this year, Bridickas served as the principal and dean of academics at Maryvale Preparatory School in Lutherville.
As president, Bridickas’ tasks will include managing the budget, attracting new donors and increasing enrollment.
Previously, she served as science department chairwoman, and then vice principal of student personnel, at her alma mater, The Catholic High School of Baltimore, from 1991 to 1999. She is a 1979 graduate of the school.  
From 1984 to 1991 Bridickas taught at Father Charles A. Hall School and St. Anthony of Padua School, both in Baltimore, as well as at schools in South Carolina and West Virginia.
She earned a bachelor’s degree in natural sciences and mathematics from Towson University and a master’s degree in education from Loyola University Maryland in Baltimore.
 

Zachary Coyle, principal
Sacred Heart School, Glyndon
 
Coyle plans to dedicate at least two hours each day to observing classroom instruction.
“I want to truly know everyone in the building and see them in action,” he said. “Visibility and communication are huge.”
“Sacred Heart has been my spiritual home as a parishioner and this is a God-given opportunity to give back,” he said.
Coyle served as director of advisory program-faculty at Maryvale Preparatory School in Lutherville from 2006 until earlier this year and as a member of the Jesuit Volunteer Corps in Bridgeport, Conn., from 2005 to 2006.
He earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia and a master’s degree in secondary education from Towson University.
 

John D’Adamo, principal
St. Ursula School, Parkville
 
D’Adamo wants to maintain and nurture St. Ursula’s Catholic identity as its first male and lay principal.
“We’re looking to sustain and build on the strong foundation,” he said, noting the school’s “tremendous legacy” in Parkville. 
He served as assistant principal at Immaculate Conception School in Towson from 2012 until earlier this year, and as a teacher and program coordinator at his alma mater, Archbishop Curley High School, from 2002 to 2012.
He earned a bachelor’s degree in English-education from Mount St. Mary’s University in Emmitsburg, a master’s degree in liberal studies from Loyola University Maryland in Baltimore and a master’s degree in school administration and supervision from The Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.
 

Mary Destino, principal
St. Mark School, Catonsville
Destino is focused on strengthening the school’s existing programs, including those for students who require an adjusted curriculum for math and language arts classes and for students who are academically gifted.
She wants to meet the school community, observe classroom instruction and have a presence in the building.
“I like the strong sense of community St. Mark has and hope to add to it and keep it a strong school,” she said.
Destino served at Resurrection-St. Paul School in Ellicott City from 2000 until earlier this year in positions including teacher and assistant principal.
She earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from D’Youville College in Buffalo, N.Y., and a master’s degree in business administration from Loyola University Maryland in Baltimore.
 

Conventual Franciscan Father Donald Grzymski, president
Archbishop Curley High School, Baltimore
 Father Grzymski is no stranger to Archbishop Curley.
A 1970 graduate, Father Grzymski previously served at his alma mater as a teacher, guidance counselor, assistant principal, principal and as its first president from 1995 to 2001. He then served as vicar provincial for the St. Anthony of Padua Province of the Conventual Franciscans from 2001 to 2005 and most recently as pastor of St. Clement Mary Hofbauer in Rosedale.
As president, Father Grzymski plans to “continue to build on the growth and stability of the school,” which includes expanding its use of technology through the use of iPads.
Father Grzymski has a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from St. Hyacinth College and Seminary in Granby, Mass., a master’s in theology from St. Anthony-on-Hudson Seminary in Rensselaer, N.Y., and master’s in history from The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.
 

Richard Gudel, principal
Mother Seton Academy, Baltimore
Gudel said his primary goal is to fulfill the school’s mission of educating students in financial need.
“I am keenly aware of being a spiritual leader,” he said, “and I would like to produce really good kids, kids that are comfortable in their own skin.” 
Gudel served as a substitute English teacher for Baltimore County Public Schools last year, adjunct instructor for Cecil College in North East in 2012, English department chairman at Perry Hall High School from 1999 to 2011 and principal of Franklin Middle School in Reisterstown from 1996 to 1999.
He earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and world literature from The Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and a master’s degree in dramatic literature from Smith College in Northampton, Mass.
 

Mindi Imes, principal
St. Mary’s High School, Annapolis
Imes credits her passion for Catholic education to her years as a student at Catholic schools.
“I feel indebted to the experience that I had and great responsibility in ensuring that students are afforded the same opportunities,” Imes said.
Imes served as associate principal, academic dean, theology department chairwoman and teacher at her alma mater, Bishop McNamara High School in Forestville, from 2004 to earlier this year. She taught at a school in Santiago, Chile, from 2003 to 2004 and at St. Ignatius Loyola Academy in Baltimore from 2000 to 2003.
Imes earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from the University of Notre Dame in Notre Dame, Ind., and a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from Loyola University Maryland in Baltimore.
 

Christian Brother John Kane, president
Calvert Hall College High School, Towson
Brother Kane wants to honor Calvert Hall’s history and traditions while integrating 21st century innovation and educational strategies.
As president, his goals include continuing to strengthen the school’s alumni network and teach students about serving others.   
Brother Kane believes in working collaboratively with others.
“Everybody has to be involved for everyone to succeed, and that includes students,” he said.
Brother Kane served at his alma mater, La Salle University in Philadelphia, from 1999 until earlier this year in positions including director of academic support services for student athletes. From 1980 to 1998 he served at Catholic high schools in Pennsylvania.
Brother Kane earned a bachelor’s degree in political science and a master’s degree in religious education, both from La Salle University, and a doctor of education in educational leadership from St. Joseph’s University, also in Philadelphia.
 

Brian Kohler, interim principal
Archbishop Curley High School, Baltimore
 Kohler said his first priority is “to continue on the path of academic excellence that the Curley family is on.”
“The Curley community is small by design so we can provide individualized attention to every student,” he said.
Kohler previously served as Archbishop Curley’s assistant principal of academics from 2011 until earlier this year, freshman program coordinator and teacher at Loyola Blakefield in Towson from 2006 to 2011, as a teacher at Archbishop Spalding High School in Severn from 2002 to 2006 and at a Catholic high school in Philadelphia from 2001 to 2002.
He earned a bachelor’s degree in political science and government from The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., and a master’s degree in education and administration from Loyola University Maryland in Baltimore.
                                                         
Veronica Kosch (left) and Patricia Neumark, co-principals
St. Thomas More Academy, Middletown
Kosch and Neumark are focused on growing enrollment.
“We’re in a stable place and we have a true passion for education,” said Kosch, the school’s director.
“We want our students to be faithful, well-rounded individuals,” said Neumark, dean of academics, who noted the school is focused on its STREAM (Science, Technology, Religion, Engineering, Art and Mathematics) initiative, which will allow students to use technology in the classroom and participate in hands-on science and engineering projects.
Previously, Kosch and Neumark worked at St. Thomas More; Kosch in the front office and Neumark as a teacher.
Kosch earned a bachelor’s of science from East Carolina University in Greenville, N.C., and Neumark earned a bachelor’s in secondary education and history from West Virginia Wesleyan College in Buckhannon, W.V.
Paul Kristoff, principal
St. Michael the Archangel School, Overlea
Kristoff wants to form disciples for Jesus and increase student achievement and enrollment.
After nearly two decades as a public school teacher, Kristoff said was attracted to Catholic education because of its mission to educate the whole child. 
“I look at education as a calling, not a career,” he said. “Children are God’s gift to the world.”
He served in the office of purchasing for Baltimore County Public Schools from 2013 until earlier this year, as assistant principal at Hernwood Elementary School in Randallstown from 2005 to 2013 and he was a Baltimore County Public Schools teacher from 1997 to 2005.
He earned a bachelor’s degree in business/economics from Randolph-Macon College in Ashland, Va., and a master’s degree in teaching from Notre Dame of Maryland University in Baltimore.
 

Mary Beth Lennon, president
Mercy High School, Baltimore
Lennon is returning to her alma mater as its president 29 years after she graduated.
Lennon wants to build new partnerships and strengthen existing ones, such as its Women in Medicine program at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore.
Mercy is one of 198 secondary schools worldwide operated by the Religious Sisters of Mercy.
Previously, Lennon served as the director of communications and assistant to the president at Cristo Rey Jesuit High School in Fells Point.
She earned her bachelor’s degree in history from Notre Dame of Maryland University in Baltimore and a master’s degree in Latin American history from The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. 
 

John Marinacci, principal
Loyola Blakefield, Towson
 Marinacci is focused on adhering to Loyola Blakefield’s mission, ensuring instructors diversify their teaching styles and attracting a diverse population of students.
He served at St. Paul’s School in Brooklandville in positions including teacher, coach and dean of students from 2005 until earlier this year, as a teacher and coach at his alma mater, Fordham Preparatory School in Bronx, N.Y., from 2003 to 2005 and as a teacher and coach at Boys’ Latin School of Maryland in Baltimore from 1998 to 2003.  
He earned a bachelor of arts degree from Loyola University of Maryland in Baltimore and a master’s degree in liberal arts from The Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.
 

Daughter of Charity Sister Brenda Monahan, principal
Mother Seton School, Emmitsburg
Sister Brenda, who completed her novitiate in Emmitsburg more than two decades ago, has returned to Frederick County.
She is focused on enhancing technology and providing opportunities for students beyond academics, including community involvement.
Sister Brenda said the school community can expect her “total commitment to putting the school first and to helping students achieve to their highest potential.”
Sister Brenda served as director of Beacons of Hope, Inc., an outreach program for the Diocese of Birmingham in Alabama, from 2011 until earlier this year, and as a teacher and principal at Catholic schools in Alabama and Mississippi.
She earned a bachelor’s degree in early childhood and elementary education from the University of Montevallo in Montevallo, Ala., and a master’s degree in educational leadership from the University of Dayton in Dayton, Ohio.
 

Julia Rogers, interim principal
St. Agnes School, Catonsville
This year, St. Agnes is rolling out its new English language arts curriculum, integrating technology in classrooms through the use of tablets and ensuring the Catholic faith is first and foremost in all activities, Rogers said.
She will continue to serve as the Archdiocese of Baltimore’s director of government programs, a position she has held since 2007. She served as a teacher and technology coordinator at Archbishop Borders/Holy Family School in Baltimore from 2004 to 2007, as a teacher at Kenwood High School in Essex from 2003 to 2004 and as a teacher at Archbishop Borders School and Our Lady of the Rosary High School in Baltimore from 2002 to 2003.
She earned a bachelor’s degree in history from Oswego State University in Oswego, N.Y., a master’s degree in applied information technology from Towson University and a master’s degree in education administration from the University of Scranton in Scranton, Pa.
 
Kathleen Schaub, interim principal
St. Joseph School, Cockeysville
Schaub, a familiar face at St. Joseph, is beginning her 28th year there. As interim principal, she is focused on continuing the school’s tradition of excellence.
Last year, St. Joseph was one of three parish schools in the archdiocese recognized as National Blue Ribbon Schools, the U.S. Department of Education’s highest academic honor.
“I see the benefits of a Catholic education, not only from the academic standpoint but also from the lens of Catholicism in education,” said Schaub, who previously served as St. Joseph’s assistant principal. “We are God-centered and that makes all the difference to me.”
A graduate of The Catholic High School of Baltimore, she earned a bachelor’s degree in education from Notre Dame of Maryland University in Baltimore, a master’s degree in classroom teaching and a master’s degree in Catholic school leadership and supervision, both from Loyola University Maryland in Baltimore.  
 

Victor Shin, upper school head
Maryvale Preparatory School, Lutherville
 Shin said he wants to “foster a student-driven institution that focuses on collaboration and distributive leadership.”
He wants to ensure stakeholders, including students, faculty, parents and alumni, have a voice and introduce new programs for students.
“This opportunity is a dream job, and I know I’ll hit the ground running,” Shin said.
He served at Bishop McNamara High School in Forestville from 2002 until earlier this year in positions including teacher, assistant principal/director of student life and associate principal/dean of programs.
Shin earned a bachelor’s degree in government and politics from the University of Maryland, College Park, and a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Baltimore.
 

Ann Workmeister, principal
Bishop Walsh School, Cumberland 
Workmeister wants to increase enrollment, improve the use of technology in classrooms, update the school’s facilities and bolster alumni relations.
“I want to motivate the teachers and kids to be their best,” she said.
Two new advanced placement courses – art history and environmental science – will bring Bishop Walsh’s AP course offering to 12, she said.
Since 2007, Workmeister has served at Bishop Walsh as a teacher, assistant principal and acting principal. Previously, she was an adjunct instructor at Frostburg State University and Allegany College of Maryland in Cumberland and a school counselor and teacher for Allegany County Public Schools.
She earned a bachelor’s degree in English and education from Lenoir-Rhyne College in Hickory, N.C., and a master’s degree in school counseling from Frostburg State University.  
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