New principals, presidents ready to lead

 

By Elizabeth Lowe

elowe@CatholicReview.org

The Archdiocese of Baltimore welcomes 10 new principals and two new presidents to Catholic schools for the 2012-2013 school year. Their profiles follow.

George Andrews Jr.

Mount St. Joseph High School, Irvington

George Andrews Jr., is a familiar face at Mount St. Joseph High School.

Andrews, the Irvington school’s new president, was a social studies teacher at the school in 1987. He also coached track and cross country, was the school’s director of admissions and an assistant principal.

Andrews expects about 1,040 students at the school for the upcoming school year, which is “down just slightly” from previous years, he said.

In the next few weeks, Andrews expects work to begin on the school’s new $18 million athletic complex.

The new facility will boast a basketball arena, wrestling and volleyball facilities, a weight room, stationary bikes, treadmills and classrooms for health and physical education classes, among other amenities, Andrews said. The project is expected to be completed in spring 2014.

“It is great to be back home again with the Xaverian Brothers,” Andrews said.

Before returning to Mount St. Joseph, Andrews was principal of York Catholic High School in York, Pa., from 1998
to 2012.

A graduate of St. Mary’s Ryken High School in Leonardtown in southern Maryland, Andrews earned a bachelor’s degree in history from Wheeling Jesuit University in Wheeling, W.Va., and a master’s degree in history from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh.

 Virginia Bahr

St. Joan of Arc School, Aberdeen

As principal of St. Joan of Arc School in Aberdeen, Virginia Bahr said she plans to “continue to strengthen our Catholic identity through prayer, worship and service.”

“We will continue to strive for excellence academically, spiritually, socially, physically … and really invite families to engage in this community,” Bahr said.

Bahr plans to collaborate with families, staff and the parish community, she said.

A hands-on science program for students in the kindergarten through eighth grade school is being implemented to enhance the Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) program, Bahr said.

In addition, there are 30 new iPads for a classroom and one for a teacher.

“We can have the entire classroom engaged on the iPad and collaboratively working,” Bahr said. “Project-based learning is really preparing students for the
21st century.”

Bahr expects 175 students at the school for the 2012-2013 school year, which she said is down from the previous year.

She was a faculty member of St. Margaret School, Bel Air, from 1991 to 2008, principal of Ascension School, Haleth-orpe, from 2008 to 2010 and principal of a Delaware school from 2010 to 2012.

Bahr earned a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education and a master’s degree in education, both from
Towson University.

Bridget Bartholomew

St. Maria Goretti High School, Hagerstown

Bridget Bartholomew is no stranger to St. Maria Goretti High School, Hagerstown.

The Washington County school’s new principal has been there since 2008, previously serving as a teacher, dean of students and vice principal.

The school was awarded a $28,000 grant this year from The Marion I. and Henry J. Knott Foundation to purchase iPads for incoming freshman.

“The iPad initiative will facilitate increasingly differentiated instruction in the classroom and marks a move toward increased use of cost-saving digital textbooks by our students,” Bartholomew said.

In educating the school’s nearly 215 students, Bartholomew plans to support teachers and maintain open lines of communication with parents – providing students with an environment where “academic achievement is the expectation,” she said.

Prior to coming to St. Maria Goretti, Bartholomew was an educator in Minnesota, where she taught English and Latin from 2001 to 2002 and was the English department chairwoman from 2002
to 2008.

Bartholomew has a bachelor’s degree in English literature from St. Bonaventure University (N.Y.), a master’s degree in British literature from Fordham University (N.Y.), a master’s degree in education from the College of St. Scholastica (Minn.) and a graduate certificate in educational leadership from Hood College, Frederick.

Wendy Cottrell

Our Lady of Victory School, Arbutus

As principal, Wendy Cottrell is focused on building enrollment and making Our Lady of Victory School, Arbutus, a premier institution in the archdiocese.

Her focus is also on the formation of the whole child, education, values and spirituality, said Cottrell, who noted that her mantra is “OLV is the place to be.”

“I’m so impressed with the sense of community here, the sense of pride that they have in their school, in the facilities,” said Cottrell, who succeeds longtime principal Thomas Riddle. “It is such a strong community that has been built on generations of those who have attended school. I think I can use that to my advantage building the school (enrollment).”

She expects about 350 students for the upcoming school year, about 44 fewer than the previous school year.

Cottrell taught previously in Louisiana and has worked as an instructional aide, teacher and assistant principal at Resurrection-St. Paul School, Ellicott City.

She earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from the University of New Orleans and is working toward a master’s degree in educational leadership at Loyola University Maryland, Baltimore.

Gail Donahue

Institute of Notre Dame, Baltimore

As the new principal of the Institute of Notre Dame, Gail Donahue wants to learn the school’s culture, increase classroom rigor, integrate technology in classrooms, support teachers and focus on professional development.

“I hope I can meet the needs of the community,” Donahue said.

New to the Baltimore school this year is Project Lead the Way (PLTW) with a focus on engineering, said Donahue, who noted that an engineering teacher has been hired for PLTW.

“We’ve had the biomedical Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) program,” Donahue said. “There’s such a push for females in what was traditionally a male’s career. Science and mathematics are definitely highlighted.”

She expects about 380 students at the school for the upcoming school year, approximately 20 more than last year.

Donahue was a reading specialist and staff developer at St. Mary of the Mills School in Laurel from 1987 to 1995; associate faculty member at Notre Dame of Maryland University, Baltimore, and Trinity University and The Catholic University of America, both in Washington, D.C., from 1989 to 2012; and assistant principal for professional development at Our Lady of Good Counsel High School, Olney, from 1995 to 2012.

A lay associate with the School Sisters of Notre Dame, Donahue earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Pennsylvania State University, a master’s degree in reading from Trinity University and a doctorate in educational leadership from Notre Dame of Maryland University.

Tracey Ford

Maryvale Preparatory School, Brooklandville

Tracey Ford is the first lay president of Maryvale Preparatory School in the Brooklandville school’s 66-year history.

Ford succeeds Sister of Notre Dame de Namur Shawn Marie Maguire, who arrived at the school in 1978 and retired in June after serving as president and headmistress since 1981.

Ford said she is “humbled” by her new role.

“It will not be possible to (replace) Sister Shawn and the way she did the job. It’s a question of respect,” said Ford, who said being the head of a school is her dream job.

Ford said she plans to impress upon Maryvale students that “the way you succeed is through education,” hard work and lifelong learning. Ford said she plans to interact with students – a lot.

“The joy for me is that I get to be with the girls,” Ford said. “That’s fun time for me.”

Prior to her new role at Maryvale, the parishioner of the Catholic Community of St. Francis Xavier, Hunt Valley, was the director of development at Towson University. Ford served for nine years as assistant head of school for advancement at St. Paul’s School for Girls, Brooklandville, and from 1981 to 1999 as the director of development at her alma mater, Notre Dame Preparatory School, Towson.

Ford is a graduate of the University of Virginia in Charlottesville and has a master’s degree in administrative science from The Johns Hopkins Carey Business School in Baltimore.

Alisha Jordan

John Paul Regional Catholic School, Woodlawn

Alisha Jordan wants to settle into her new role as principal of John Paul Regional Catholic School before setting grandiose plans.

New this year at the school is Math Engineering Science Achievement (MESA) for third-, fourth- and fifth-graders, said Jordan, who noted students will work on projects throughout the school year to better understand “how math, engineering and science come together as one.”

She expects 150 students for the upcoming school year.

Jordan earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology and minored in mathematics at Hampton University (Va.). She has a master’s degree in supervision and leadership in education and a second master’s degree in advanced studies in education, both from Notre Dame of Maryland University. She is a doctoral student at Morgan State University, Baltimore.

A parishioner of St. Bernardine in Baltimore, Jordan had worked at its now-closed parish school as a middle school math teacher and assistant principal.

Victor Pellechia

Our Lady of Perpetual Help School, Ellicott City

As principal of Our Lady of Perpetual Help School, Victor Pellechia said his focus is on ensuring the Ellicott City school has the latest technology, community outreach and Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) initiatives, which includes forming a Lego club and robotics team.

“It’s more enhancing what’s already here,” Pellechia said. “I intend to let people know what we’re all about.”

He expects 220 students at the school for the upcoming school year.

Pellechia earned a bachelor’s degree in biological sciences from Rutgers University (N.J.) and a master’s degree in theological studies from Washington Theological Union. He expects to graduate in 2015 with a doctor of education in educational leadership and policy studies from The George Washington University, Washington, D.C. 

Before coming to Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Pellechia was coordinator of academic affairs and the director of admissions at St. Louis School, Clarksville, from 2009 to 2012, and the director of campus ministry and a religion teacher at a Washington, D.C., high school from 2002 to 2009.

Gary Rand II

St. Thomas Aquinas Elementary School, Hampden

Gary Rand is interim principal of St. Thomas Aquinas Elementary School in Hampden. He is taking the helm from School Sister of Notre Dame Marie Rose, who had been the school’s principal for more than 30 years.

Rand, who will serve as principal of the Hampden school for the 2012-2013 school year, plans to apply to be school’s permanent principal.

“My goal is to do the very best job I can,” Rand said. “I’m blessed to have this opportunity. I’m looking forward to doing all I can for the school and the community of St. Thomas.”

Rand served as a principal of St. Clement Mary Hofbauer School in Rosedale from 2008 to 2010. He was principal of St. Andrew Apostle School in Silver Spring from 2010-2011.

He completed an administrative internship at Hood College from 2011-2012 after earning a master’s degree in educational administration from Hood College in Frederick in 2011. He earned a bachelor’s degree in education with a concentration in elementary education from The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.

Originally from West Palm Beach, Fla., Rand is a former dean of students at St. John’s Catholic Prep in Frederick, where he also held roles as assistant dean of students, theology teacher and assistant coach at St. John’s. Rand previously taught and served as assistant principal at Mother of God School in Gaithersburg. He was a teacher and administrator at St. Ambrose School in Cheverly and a teacher at St. Elizabeth School in Rockville.

 Deborah Thomas

Immaculate Heart of Mary School, Baynesville

 Deborah Thomas said her goal as principal of Immaculate Heart of Mary School is to “become a member of this community” and continue to move the school community forward.

“We have to make sure that as a school we are continuing to prepare our children for the 21st century,” Thomas said. “To do that, we have to make a strong commitment to professional development so we’re continually enhancing our skills
as teachers.”

Writing, public speaking and communications classes are being offered at the Baynesville school this year, Thomas said.

“When we talk about the persuasive writing piece, that’s an important part of any business skill,” Thomas said. “We want our students to be confident and poised when they go out into the world. This is an opportunity to enhance
those skills.”

Thomas expects 470 students for the upcoming school year, minimal change from last year. Previously, Thomas was a teacher at Immaculate Conception School in Towson from 2002 to 2008 and the school’s assistant principal and director of admissions from 2008
to 2012.

She earned a bachelor’s degree in mass communications from Towson University and a master of arts in education, leadership in teaching from Notre Dame of Maryland University.

Dominican Sister of St. Cecilia Mary Thomas

Mount de Sales Academy, Catonsville

Dominican Sister of St. Cecilia Mary Thomas said her first goal as principal at Mount de Sales Academy is to listen to the Catonsville school community’s needs.

“The school is a beautiful, faith-filled school community,” Sister Mary said. “When you come new to a faithful, thriving community, listen and learn and come to know very deeply the tradition that’s there.”

In addition to the school’s new athletic field is a program that addresses learning differences, said Sister Mary, who noted an effort is being made “to better serve the needs of the students in a Catholic school.”

She expects nearly 500 students for the upcoming school year.

Sister Mary taught at Catholic schools from 1990 to 2004 and was principal of two different schools from 2005 to 2012.

She earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Belmont University (Tenn.), a master’s degree in mathematics from Middle Tennessee University and a second master’s degree in education leadership from Christian Brothers
University (Tenn.).

Jane Towery

School of the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen, Baltimore

Jane Towery is new to the School of the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen, Homeland, but she’s not a stranger to being a principal.

“This is my 21st year as principal,” Towery said.

She was a teacher and youth ministry leader at a Georgia school from 1982 to 1986; a teacher, coordinator of the parish religious education program and youth group facilitator at St. Dominic School, Baltimore, from 1986 to 1988; and a teacher at a Washington, D.C., school from 1988 to 1990. Towery was a teacher and assistant principal at Bishop John Neumann School, Baltimore, from 1990 to 1992; principal of St. Rose of Lima School, Brooklyn, from 1992 to 1997; and principal of St. Joan of Arc School, Aberdeen, from 1997 to 2012.

She has a bachelor’s degree in education from The Catholic University of America, a master’s degree in Catholic school leadership from Boston College and a doctorate in educational leadership, curriculum and supervision from Nova Southeastern University (Fla.)

Towery expects nearly 470 Cathedral students, an increase of 20 from last year.

Copyright (c) Aug. 22, 2012 CatholicReview.org

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