Eight New Principals to Lead Area Catholic Schools This Fall

August 13, 2012

When the doors open for the new school year on Monday, August 27, 2012, eight Catholic elementary schools in the Archdiocese of Washington will be led by new principals. The new principals are Abigail Greer at Saint Matthias Apostle School in Lanham, Charlie Hennessey at Holy Trinity School in northwest Washington, Carl Jankowski at Saint Joseph Regional Catholic School in Beltsville, Deacon Christopher Jensen at Our Lady Star of the Sea School in Solomons, Susan McDonough at Saint John School in Hollywood, Arthur Mola at Sacred Heart School in northwest Washington, Patricia Ruppert at Saint Catherine Labouré School in Wheaton and Colleen Ryan at Holy Redeemer School in Kensington.


Sacred Heart School, NW Washington- Mr. Arthur Mola comes to Sacred Heart School after working with Safe Passages in Oakland, California, which encourages students and families to become catalysts for social change within their communities. Mr. Mola led a nationally recognized research class named The History of Gangs in the U.S., for middle and high school students. As a Project Coordinator of the Safe Passages/Our Kids strategy, he was responsible for the coordination, implementation, and monitoring of all services provided to students, staff, and community, via on-site treatment services, after-school programs and outreach events. Before that, he served as an Associate Missionary and Community Minister, responsible for developing and implementing various programs for urban youth like basketball clinics, community outreach events, tutoring, mentor matching, as well as advocating for youth in the judicial system.

Holy Trinity School, NW Washington- “We strive to develop young women and men that excel academically and use their developing skills and knowledge to benefit their communities,” said Charlie Hennessy. “We teach them to reflect on their own lives and the changing world around them to ensure they are making a positive contribution to God’s creation.” Mr. Hennessy has taught at Holy Trinity School for more than 30 years. In addition, he has served as Upper School Coordinator and, more recently, as Assistant Principal. He is highly respected and well-loved, and he knows the school and its culture.


Holy Redeemer School, Kensington- Since 2001, Colleen Ryan served as the assistant principal, the director of admissions, the grade level administrator, the head of the Middle States Technology Goal Committee, an inclusion committee member, as well as a resource and second grade teacher at Blessed Sacrament School in NW Washington. Prior to that, she taught at St. Michael School in Silver Spring and St. Gabriel School in North Carolina. Mrs. Ryan was honored as Blessed Sacrament School’s teacher of the Year for the 2007-2008 school year and as the District of Columbia regional winner of the Archdiocese of Washington’s Teacher of the Year for the same year. She came to Holy Redeemer School this March as principal. This will be her first full school year in this position.

Saint Catherine Labouré School, Wheaton- Patricia Ruppert comes to the Wheaton school after teaching in the Baltimore area for thirteen years. A graduate of Towson University and Loyola College of Maryland, Mrs. Ruppert has served as the special educator in special education programs for students with learning disabilities and served as a director of Special Education. She taught in both public and private schools. Most recently, Mrs. Ruppert taught study skills at Seton Keough High School in Baltimore to students in the college prep program who had been diagnosed with learning disabilities.


Saint Joseph Regional Catholic School, Beltsville- Carl Jankowski has brought a happy tune into the buildings of several local Catholic schools before this move to Saint Joseph Regional Catholic School in Beltsville. Mr. Jankowski was the general music teacher at Saint Matthias Apostle School in Lanham and then at Holy Redeemer School in College Park, teaching music lessons but also directing the children’s choir and seasonal musical programs. In 2009, at Holy Redeemer School, he began to serve as the assistant principal in addition to his teaching duties, which included, among other things, crisis planning, serving as Co-Chair of Middle States Steering Committee, planning and leading faculty professional development meetings and assisting in the day to day school operations. “I believe that all children can and will achieve excellence, given the proper educational environment and opportunities,” said Mr. Jankowki. “I am dedicated to leading a school community that is deeply rooted in Gospel values and the teachings of Jesus Christ. I live my faith by keeping this motto close to my heart; Jesus is not only our teacher, but also our message.”

Saint Matthias Apostle School, Lanham- Abigail Greer successfully created and planned the first High School Fair for Learning Centers for the Archdiocese of Washington, helping rising high school students with learning disabilities to learn more about the programs Catholic high schools have to offer. That kind of initiative not only earned her a 4.0 grade point average at George Washington University when she was pursuing her advanced certificate in counseling diverse populations, but it also earned her the “Above and Beyond the Call of Duty” award from St. Mary of the Mills School, where she served as a school counselor most recently. Mrs. Greer has served as a counseling intern at St. Bernadette School and Bishop McNamara High School. She has also taught Advanced Placement Psychology and Biology, as well as sophomore Biology at Bishop McNamara High School.


Our Lady, Star of the Sea, Solomons- Deacon Christopher Jensen has a background in elementary education and has worked in both public and private schools. He has taught grades 2-8 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, as well as in St. Mary and Calvert Counties in Maryland. He has also taught special education classes and was an administrator for eight years in the Calvert County school system. Deacon Jensen received his Bachelors and Masters degrees in education from Duquesne University, and his administration certifications from Towson University. He also was ordained a deacon of the Archdiocese of Washington in 2008.

Saint John School, Hollywood- “I am eager to bring leadership to an educational system while fully integrating the teachings of Christ into every aspect of the curriculum,” said Susan McDonough. Holding a Masters Degree in Leadership and Teaching from the College of Notre Dame in Baltimore and a Bachelors Degree in Humanities from Washington College in Chestertown, Mrs. McDonough is known as a leader in Catholic education. Since 2001, she has taught at St. John School and served on various committees. Before that, she taught fifth graders at Mother Catherine Spalding School in Helen and served as the after-care director. She was selected as the 2006-2007 Southern Maryland Catholic Schools Teacher of the Year and the 2006 Catholic Teacher of the Year by the local Knights of Columbus chapter.

The Archdiocese of Washington serves nearly 30,000 students in 97 elementary, secondary, special schools, and early learning centers in the District of Columbia and Calvert, Charles, Montgomery, Prince George’s and St. Mary’s counties in Maryland.

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