New principals, presidents take the helm

By Elizabeth Lowe
elowe@CatholicReview.org

Twitter: @ReviewLowe
Eleven new and interim principals and three interim presidents have been named at Catholic schools across the Archdiocese of Baltimore for the 2013-14 school year. Their profiles follow:
Frank Bramble Sr., interim president
Calvert Hall College High School, Towson
Frank Bramble Sr., a 1966 graduate of Calvert Hall College High School, is interim president of his alma mater.
“My focus will be getting to learn the school to be in a position to lead going forward,” Bramble said.
He plans to implement the school’s strategic plan, engage the Towson school’s alumni and educate the community about Calvert Hall.
“I’m honored to have the opportunity to work with my alma mater which had such a positive impact on my life,” Bramble said.
He has chaired the Archdiocese of Baltimore’s Blue Ribbon Committee on Schools and has served on numerous boards, including those at Calvert Hall, Catholic Charities, Maryvale Preparatory School in Brooklandville and Loyola University Maryland in Baltimore.
Bramble graduated from the Bank Administration Institute’s School of Banking at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, Wis.
 
Casey Buckstaff, principal
Monsignor Slade Catholic School, Glen Burnie
As principal of Monsignor Slade Catholic School, Casey Buckstaff is focused on helping the school’s math program to excel.
“One of our goals and priorities is to transition our math program so we can meet and exceed the common core state standards,” Buckstaff said. “We want to challenge ourselves.”
She expects 680 students at the school for the upcoming school year, down from 751 students the previous year.
Buckstaff was a teacher and assistant principal at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Elementary School and Children’s Center in Essex from 2003 to 2011 and assistant principal at St. John the Evangelist School in Severna Park from 2011 to 2013.
She earned a bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Notre Dame in Notre Dame, Ind. and a master’s degree in teaching from Notre Dame of Maryland University in Baltimore.
 
Kathleen Casey, interim principal
Institute of Notre Dame, Baltimore
Kathleen Casey has longevity at the Institute of Notre Dame.
Casey, the Baltimore school’s interim principal, has been a faculty member there for 25 years.
“I’m honored to be able to serve as the interim principal,” said Casey, who will continue to teach two French classes. “I believe in collaboration and because I have worked for many years with the faculty, I look forward to continuing that collaboration.”
Under Casey’s leadership, IND will continue to explore utilizing common core standards to enhance classroom instruction and improve student assessment, differentiated instruction in the classroom and professional development.
Three new advanced placement courses – chemistry, U.S. government and statistics – will bring IND’s AP course offerings to 10, Casey said.
She expects 380 students for the 2013-14 school year, which is comparable to the previous school year.
Casey was a faculty member at Archbishop Keough High School from 1972 to 1974 and Mount St. Joseph High School in Irvington from 1984 to 1988 before coming to IND.
She earned a bachelor’s degree in French from Notre Dame of Maryland University in Baltimore and a master’s degree in French literature from the University of Virginia.
 
Anthony Day, interim president
Loyola Blakefield, Towson
Anthony Day has a new position on Loyola Blakefield’s campus.
He served as the Towson school’s principal from 2008 until he was named interim president in March.
In his new role, Day is focused on promoting Loyola.
“We want to be the school of choice for boys in Baltimore,” he said. “As we move ahead, we need to continue to offer a very inclusive environment for our students where the doors are always open to invite boys into what we consider a very welcoming community.”
He continued, “The mission of the school is developing young men who are leaders but more importantly servant leaders. It’s an unchanged mission and it’s a commitment to service, always striving to be better.”
Before coming to Loyola, Day taught and was an assistant principal in New Jersey and New York.
He earned a bachelor’s degree in English from St. Peter’s University in Jersey City, N.J., a master’s degree in education from Fordham University in Bronx, N.Y. and a master of letters from Drew University in Madison, N.J.
 
Pegeen D’Agostino, interim president
Mercy High School, Baltimore
Pegeen D’Agostino is interim president of Mercy High School after serving as the Baltimore school’s principal since 2009.
D’Agostino succeeds Mercy Sister Carol E. Wheeler, who was the face of the school from the late 1970s through the 2012-13 school year.
“Part of my challenge is to assure people we are going to be moving forward,” D’Agostino said. “The quality of the Mercy education and the traditions of the Sisters of Mercy are still going to be here.”
As interim president, D’Agostino plans to connect with alumnae and work with the school’s faculty and students in her new capacity.
D’Agostino has served as a teacher, department chairwoman, vice principal for academic affairs, director of curriculum and instruction and associate principal at Mercy for the better part of two decades.
She earned a bachelor’s degree in history and secondary education from the former Mount St. Agnes College in Mount Washington and a master’s degree in reading from Loyola University Maryland in Baltimore. 
 
Jeffrey Dudley, principal
Our Lady of Grace School, Parkton
As principal, Jeffrey Dudley said he is focused on making Our Lady of Grace known to the community, “continuing to expose the school to the northern Baltimore County and the southern Pennsylvania area and become a little more aggressive with marketing.”
“What we do, we do well,” he said. “It’s just making sure the community is aware of what we do.”
Dudley expects 170 students at the Parkton school for the 2013-14 school year, which is comparable to the previous year.
Prior to coming to Our Lady of Grace, Dudley taught in New Jersey and Baltimore County Public Schools, was the athletic director at the Institute of Notre Dame in Baltimore from 2005 to 2010 and dean of St. Paul’s School for Boys in Brooklandville from 2010 to 2013.
He earned a bachelor’s degree in marine biology and a master’s degree in secondary science education, both from Fairleigh Dickinson University in Madison, N.J.
 

JoAnn Lazzeri, interim principal
Mercy High School, Baltimore
JoAnn Lazzeri, interim principal at Mercy High School, is a familiar face at the Baltimore school.
She has served at Mercy as head librarian, director of library services, vice principal for informational services and vice principal for academic affairs. She is a 1971 alumna of the school.
“It is a transition year (but) it does not mean it will be a standstill year,” said Lazzeri, who is focused on ensuring daily life at Mercy remains rooted in the charism of the Religious Sisters of Mercy.
New this year is a four-year technology program for incoming freshmen, Lazzeri said. She plans to work to expand existing partnerships with colleges and universities and cultivate new ones.
She expects 310 students for the 2013-14 school year, 25 fewer than the previous school year.
Lazzeri earned a bachelor’s degree from Loyola University Maryland in Baltimore.
 
John McCaul, interim principal
Loyola Blakefield, Towson
John McCaul is committed to caring for students and instructional excellence.
“A big part of it is a love of the kids,” McCaul said. “Kids are going to learn wherever they go, but we have a real important job to let them know they’re loved and cared for. Those kids walk into school and say ‘a teacher really loves me and is willing to care for me in a way that challenges me, corrects me and keeps me moving on the right path.’?”
McCaul expects to welcome 985 students for the upcoming school year, comparable to last school year.
He was Loyola’s assistant principal for faculty development from 2007 until earlier this year and principal of St. Agnes School in Catonsville from 2002 to 2007. He also served as principal, vice principal and a teacher at Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Washington.
McCaul earned a bachelor’s degree in marketing from St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, a master’s degree in secondary education from Trinity College in Washington, D.C. and a master’s degree in education administration and policy studies from The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. 
 
Marc Minsker, interim principal
St. John’s Catholic Prep, Buckeystown
Marc Minsker, interim principal of St. John’s Catholic Prep in Buckeystown, has been a teacher and academic dean there since 2003.
In his new role, Minsker plans to work to strengthen partnerships with local colleges and universities. For example, he is working with Mount St. Mary’s University in Emmitsburg to create tracks for students interested in criminal justice or theology.
In addition, he wants to engage feeder schools and the community to build the Frederick County school’s enrollment.
The 2013-14 school year is the first full year for St. John’s at its new location. In January, St. John’s moved six miles from Frederick to Buckeystown.
“We retain the legacy of the school but get the community familiar with not only our campus but our curriculum,” said Minsker, who will continue to teach advanced placement literature.
Enrollment is projected at 264, compared to 270 from the previous year.
Minsker earned a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of South Carolina in Columbia, S.C., and a master’s degree in English from Appalachian State University in Boone, N.C.
 
David Norton, principal
Mount St. Joseph High School, Irvington
David Norton has been walking the halls of Mount St. Joseph High School in Irvington since the 1960s, first as a student and then as a teacher. He is now the school’s principal.
“I am thrilled to be the principal,” Norton said. “This is something I feel called to do and I’m going to do it with every ounce of energy I have.”
Norton’s focus is on being an example for the school community and on the spiritual formation of all students.
“I’m well-known, being there for 38 years, and the support from everyone has been tremendous,” Norton said. “They’re looking to me to take them to bigger,
better places.”
Student enrollment for the upcoming school year is projected at 990, which is down by about 30 students from the previous year.
At Mount St. Joseph, Norton has served as a teacher, assistant principal and varsity baseball coach.
He earned a bachelor’s degree with secondary certification in mathematics and a master’s degree in education, both from Towson University.
 
Gary Rand II, principal
St. Thomas Aquinas Elementary School, Hampden
Gary Rand II, who served as interim principal of St. Thomas Aquinas Elementary School in Hampden for the 2012-13 school year, is now the school’s principal.
“We’re celebrating our 140th anniversary so my goal is to make sure we recognize our past and plan for the future of the school,” Rand said. “The major goal this year is for people to understand how wonderful St. Thomas is through marketing our events and to continue to enhance our academics.”
Enrollment is projected at 130, which is comparable to the previous year.
Rand is a former dean of students at St. John’s Catholic Prep in Buckeystown, as well as assistant dean of students, teacher and assistant coach there.
He earned a bachelor’s degree in education from The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., and a master’s degree in educational administration from Hood College in Frederick.
 

Elena Simmons, principal
St. Jane Frances School, Pasadena
Elena Simmons wants to build student enrollment, organize a family school association and fundraise during her first year as principal of St. Jane Frances School in Pasadena.
She also wants to strengthen the school’s STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) program and maintain and improve academics.
Simmons describes herself as a fair and transparent leader.
“We’re all vested equally so I need to be as open and honest and possible,” Simmons said. “I’m very visible in the school – I visit classrooms quite frequently and I have a lot of energy.”
Enrollment for the upcoming school year is projected at 198 students, which is down from the previous year.
Simmons previously served as a teacher and principal in New Jersey. 
 
Chuck Stembler, principal
Calvert Hall College High School, Towson
Chuck Stembler is well established at Calvert Hall. A 1983 graduate of the Towson school, Stembler has been a faculty member there since 1987.
New this year to Calvert Hall is advanced placement geography, a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) program and cyber-security club. 
Stembler, like other administrators, will teach, in his case AP government.
He described himself as a collaborative leader.
“It’s most important you make decisions with the mission and the students at the forefront,” Stembler said. “It’s got to be what’s mission-driven, what’s going to enhance the mission of the school and you do that in a collaborative way.”
Enrollment for the upcoming school year is projected at 1,194, up slightly from last year.
Stembler earned bachelor’s degrees in economics and political science and a master’s degree in educational administration, all from Loyola University Maryland in Baltimore.
 
Irene Wunderlich, principal
St. Thomas More Academy, Middletown
Irene Wunderlich has been principal of St. Thomas More Academy in Middletown since February.
Reinstating the classical curriculum, which teaches critical analysis and in-depth points of view from multiple angles, is a priority, Wunderlich said.
“It’s a great model,” she said. “You’re making links between literature, history, science, art and music. It takes a collaborative team to pull it off well.”
Enrollment for the 2013-14 school year is projected at 50, which is down by 15 students from the previous year.
“There’s a new energy that seems to be building as we are really starting to grow in Middletown and it’s an exciting time in St. Thomas More’s history,” Wunderlich said. 
Before coming to St. Thomas More, Wunderlich was director of faith formation and youth ministry at St. John the Evangelist in Frederick.
She earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from St. Louis University in St. Louis, Mo., and a master’s degree in religious education from Felician College in Lodi, N.J. 
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