New Leadership Marks Back to School at Area Catholic Schools

August 21, 2002

When students start school at area Catholic schools this fall, many new staff members will join them in marking the start of the new school year: a new superintendent of schools for the Archdiocese of Washington, a new assistant superintendent for elementary schools and 14 new principals.

The first day of classes for Catholic schools in Southern Maryland (Calvert, Charles and St. Mary’s Counties) will be Tuesday, August 27, with the exception of Archbishop Neale School and Mother Catherine Spalding School which will open Tuesday, September 3 due to construction. The first day of classes for Catholic schools in Washington, DC, and Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties will be September 3, with the exception of Blessed Sacrament School in Washington, DC which will open September 16 due to construction.

New Superintendent of Schools

This fall marks Dr. Patricia Weitzel-O’Neill’s first year as superintendent of schools. Previously, she was vice president for academic affairs and dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Trinity College in Washington, DC. She has responsibility for the oversight of 83 archdiocesan preschool, elementary and secondary schools and coordination with 27 independent Catholic schools in Washington, DC and suburban and southern Maryland. The schools serve more than 34,500 students from diverse backgrounds.

New Assistant Superintendent of Elementary Schools

Dr. Kathleen Schwartz, the new assistant superintendent of elementary schools, is returning to her educational roots: She began her teaching career in the Archdiocese of Washington 31 years ago at Elizabeth Seton High School in Bladensburg before going on to teach at St. Pius X High School in Fairfax, Virginia and in Japan. Most recently, she was principal of St. Mary’s School in Rockledge, FL. As assistant superintendent, she will have responsibility for facilitating the implementation of polices and procedures throughout all archdiocesan elementary schools, in collaboration with the regional coordinators.

New High School Principals

In Montgomery County, Mr. John Graham is the new principal of Our Lady of Good Counsel High School in Wheaton and Mr. Alvaro de Vicente is the new principal of The Heights in Potomac.

New Elementary School Principals

Twelve Catholic elementary schools in Washington, DC, Montgomery, Prince George’s, Calvert and St. Mary’s Counties have new principals.

District of Columbia. Ms. Donna Edwards is principal of St. Augustine School in Northwest Washington. A resident of the District of Columbia, she was previously a program manager and teacher for the District of Columbia public schools and a substitute teacher in Prince George’s County public schools.

Brother Francis Eells, F.S.C., is principal of the new San Miguel Middle School in Northwest Washington. In his 12 years of teaching, Brother Francis has taught at Catholic schools in Philadelphia and Camden, N.J.

Mr. John Hoffman is headmaster of the new Washington Jesuit Academy, a middle school for boys in Northeast Washington. He previously taught at Gonzaga College High School for 14 years and was principal of a Catholic school in Alaska for seven years.

Montgomery County. The new principal at Mary of Nazareth School in Darnestown is Sr. Elaine Bebyn, MPF. One of the founding teachers at the school, which opened in 1994, she has taught several grades there and in Catholic schools in Connecticut and Rhode Island.

Prince George’s County. Ms. Susan Scott is the new principal of St. John the Evangelist School in Clinton. She was assistant principal St. Bartholomew School in Bethesda and previously taught for six years in Catholic schools in Louisiana.

The new principal of St. Margaret of Scotland School in Seat Pleasant is Ms. Charon Hines. She has taught for more than five years in public and Catholic schools in Prince George’s County and the District of Columbia.

Ms. Karen Murphy is the new principal at St. Mark School in Hyattsville, where she had been assistant principal for the last 10 years. She also taught for several years at the school and was the primary math curriculum coordinator.

Dr. Gloria Grimsley is the new principal at St. Mary School in Landover Hills; previously she was a middle school vice principal for Alexandria City public schools. She has been a bilingual immersion teacher in Prince George’s County public schools and Arlington County public schools, and has extensive experience in bilingual/ESL education.

Calvert County. The new principal of Cardinal Hickey Academy in Owings is Sr. Christine Born, OP. She had been associate principal at the school and previously taught at Catholic schools in Virginia, Alabama and Tennessee.

Charles County. Dr. Laura Wagner Smith is the new principal of St. Mary, Star of the Sea School in Indian Head. Previously, she had been an assistant principal at an elementary school in Texas. Her 10-year career in education includes extensive experience as an educational diagnostician and a special education resource teacher.

St. Mary’s County. The new principal of Little Flower School in Great Mills is Ms. Patricia Gehring. She comes to Little Flower from St. Mary School in Bryantown where she taught for 10 years.

Mrs. Mary Toffolo-Cresce is the new principal of Mother Catherine Spalding School. She has taught in Catholic high schools in the Archdiocese of Washington for eight years, including Elizabeth Seton High School and St. Mary’s Ryken High School.

Jennifer Reed
Office of Communications
[email protected]