A month after finding out her school was one of 13 chosen for consolidation in the Archdiocese of Baltimore, Kathleen Filippelli has been charged with leading a new elementary institution in the Archdiocese of Baltimore this fall.
The Father Charles Hall principal was appointed by Archbishop Edwin F. O’Brien to the same position at a new West Baltimore school, which will open in the fall on the campus of Seton Keough High School.
The new school will be established in a separate area from the high school and will be equipped especially for elementary school students.
Filippelli said she was approached about the position nine days after the consolidation announcements in March.
“I was emotionally drained from this experience, but I was very grateful for the opportunity to be involved in a discussion about the idea for a new school,” Filippelli said. “I was humbled that I was considered for the position, and once I was able to ask questions about the new school, I was interested in participating in the possibilities of a new Catholic school for our city youth.”
The archdiocese wants to build a new school once enrollment and fundraising goals are attained. Students from Father Charles Hall, Ascension, St. Bernardine, St. Rose of Lima and St. William of York are being encouraged to attend the new school.
“The families of our closed city schools are dealing with a great sense of loss, and they have concerns for the educational future of their children,” Filippelli said. “My greatest challenge is assuring them that this new school is more than an idea, and that it will be a reality and a good option for them.”
Archbishop Edwin F. O’Brien announced the appointment of three other new principals for receiving schools March 25. Oblate Sister of Providence Rita Michelle Proctor will move from the closing Mother Mary Lange School to Cardinal Shehan School. Maggie Dates will go from the consolidated St. Clare School in Essex to St. Pius X in Rodgers Forge.
When Graceland Park’s Sacred Heart of Mary closes in the spring, principal Pamela Walters will go to St. Clement Mary Hofbauer School in Rosedale.
One of the major components of Walters’ transition is that she will bring the archdiocese’s special education program, Pupils Receiving Inclusive, Diversified Education (PRIDE), with her to St. Clement Mary Hofbauer in the fall.
The program will be expanded and re-titled “PRIDE Plus.” It works with students of average or above average intelligence who have minimal learning disabilities from kindergarten through eighth grade. Teachers are trained in special education and design programs to meet a student’s needs. Small class sizes, the archdiocese said, means individualized instruction.
“These students should be honor students, and this tries to help them reach their potential,” Walters said.
She said the program allowed students to see each other’s strengths at Sacred Heart of Mary.
St. Clement will serve as the program’s professional development school. She said it took about a year to train staff at Sacred Heart of Mary, so the next few months will be crucial to be ready for the beginning of the new school year in the fall.
“I am very excited,” she said. “I think it’s a good place to elevate the professional development of all teachers across the archdiocese of Baltimore.”
Dates said that with St. Pius X, she is inheriting a school that “has a wonderful reputation and is a strong school.”
“I am looking forward to establishing a strong partnership with the faculty, parents, community and parish,” she said. “I really want to partner with them. We all work together.”
Sister Rita Michelle said the appointment to Cardinal Shehan School will be bittersweet, but she takes comfort knowing that some of her students at Mother Mary Lange could potentially follow her to her new school.
She previously worked as an assistant principal at Cardinal Shehan. She said Catholic education succeeds when the schools embrace Catholic identity and the faith and aspire to develop academic excellence.
“I have to believe that God will use me an instrument of peace and hope for all people through God, Mother Lange and those will working with me,” Sister Rita Michelle said. “I have to respond to God’s call in a very positive way. I feel very passionately about that.”
Principals who will remain at receiving elementary schools, include: School Sister of Notre Dame Marie Rose Gustatus, St. Thomas Aquinas; Gregory Jones, Monsignor Slade; Patricia Kelly, St. Michael the Archangel; LaUanah King-Cassell, Ss. James and John; School Sister of Notre Dame Irene Pryle, Our Lady of Hope/St. Luke; Thomas Riddle, Our Lady of Victory; Pamela Sanders, St. Ambrose; Patricia Schratz, St. Augustine; Lisa Shipley, Our Lady of Mount Carmel; Shirley Wise, St. Philip Neri.