Nine New Principals to Lead Area Catholic Schools This Fall

August 17, 2011

When the doors open for the new school year, nine Catholic elementary schools in the Archdiocese of Washington will be led by new principals. Catholic elementary schools in Calvert and St. Mary’s counties open on Tuesday, August 23; schools in Charles County on Monday, August 29 and schools in Washington, DC, Montgomery and Prince George’s counties on Tuesday, August 30.

The new principals are:


St. Anthony School, NE Washington– Mr. Michael Thomasian takes over as principal after serving at the school since 2000. Mr. Thomasian has Psychology and Education degrees from Assumption College, a Master of Arts in Teaching from Trinity University and a Master of Arts in Educational Leadership from the University of Notre Dame. The school marks 90 years of educating children this year.


Shrine of St. Jude School, Rockville– Glenn Benjamin is a local resident who attended St. Elizabeth’s Catholic School, St. John’s College High School, and Catholic University. He has his Master’s Degree in Education in Administration and Supervision from Johns Hopkins University.

“Our mission is to educate the whole child; delivering academic excellence within a Catholic community of faith,” said Mr. Benjamin. “We believe that all children can excel at academics, and that activities and citizenship are just as important. Our students know that we have high expectations for them, and they strive to meet them. We foster and nurture a sense of compassion and justice toward others. Realizing that parents are the primary educators, we encourage an active involvement in the children’s education.”

Mr. Benjamin has been twice honored as Teacher of the Year. He also has coached high school football and lacrosse.

St. Mary School, Rockville– Debra Kennedy, long time teacher at St. Mary School, is now moving into the role as principal.

“We are very fortunate to have such dedicated, talented and professional person follow in the footsteps of our outgoing principal, Sister Carol Rigali,” said Monsignor Robert Amey, pastor of St. Mary, after Sister Carol was elected Provincial of the United States Province of the School Sisters of St. Francis.

Mrs. Kennedy has an undergraduate degree in business marketing from the State University of New York at Plattsburgh and a Master of Teaching degree from American University and a graduate certificate in School Administration and Supervision from John Hopkins University.

Her four children have all attended St. Mary School, so Mrs. Kennedy has been actively involved in the school community as a teacher and a parent for many years. “I realize this is a big job,” said Mrs. Kennedy, “but I love coming to work everyday!”

St. Michael the Archangel School, Silver Spring– Larry Savoy comes to Saint Michael School after serving for 14 years at his alma mater – Archbishop Carroll High School in Washington, DC, where he was a teacher, assistant dean of students, dean of students, and most recently served as vice principal for student affairs and facility management.

He received his bachelor of art degree in theater with a concentration in education from Temple University in Philadelphia, PA, where he also was a member of the baseball team. He completed his graduate education at Trinity University in Washington, DC, culminating in a master’s degree in Educational Administration. He has also given of his time and talents as a basketball coach, a baseball coach, and a youth minister and Sunday school instructor at various parishes throughout the archdiocese. Mr. Savoy lives with his wife and three daughters in Bowie, Maryland where he and his family are parishioners of Ascension Catholic Church.

St. Andrew Apostle School, Silver Spring– Susan Sheehan begins her new career as a principal at St. Andrew Apostle School in Silver Spring where she has served for twelve years. Mrs. Sheehan has worked in education since 1988. She has also served as the athletic director at St. Jerome School in Hyattsville. She is the mother of four children, ranging in age from 18 to 22.


Little Flower School, Great Mills–James Moorhead has spent the past 32 years working in Catholic education. He has spent the past 10 years as the assistant principal for academics at St. Vincent Pallotti High School in Laurel. He also served as a teacher, assistant principal and president at St. Mary’s Elementary and St. Mary’s High School in Annapolis, where he also coached lacrosse at a time when the teams were nationally recognized for their excellence. Mr. Moorhead holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Social and Behavioral sciences and a Master of Education degree from Johns Hopkins University. He is married with two sons.

Mother Catherine Spalding School, Helen– Jessica Bowles is an alumnae of Mother Catherine Spalding School. She has taught fifth grade at MCSS for six years prior to being hired as principal.

“I feel so blessed to be able to serve within the school community that played such a huge role in my own personal faith development, moral character, and academic successes,” said Mrs. Bowles. “I am a graduate of Saint Mary’s Ryken High School in Leonardtown, MD and the University of Maryland, College Park.”

Some new initiatives she is working on for the upcoming school year include the establishment of a science lab, providing an introductory Spanish course for the seventh and eighth grade students, and implementing new technology into the curriculum.

Mrs. Bowles is a lifelong resident of Saint Mary’s County. She and her husband, Lee, have two children.

Archbishop Neale School, La Plata– Margaret “Peg” Howard has been at Archbishop Neale School for 30 years. She has previously served as principal for three years, and then served as Vice Principal for the past two years.

St. John School, Hollywood– J.B. Watters is the product of 12 years of Catholic elementary and secondary education. He began his career in Texas, and has since taught in Michigan and Virginia. In addition to improving performance and test scores, Mr. Watters has developed virtual high school labs which allowed the students to experience classes that a small school would otherwise not be able to offer. These classes have included Mandarin Chinese, Japanese, American Film Study, Psychology, and over 20 Advanced Placement courses.

Mr. Watters has a Bachelor of Science degree in Physical Education and Mathematics from Central Michigan University; a master’s degree in Education Administration from Sam Houston State University, and has completed courses at the Brain and Learning Institute in Michigan. Currently, he is working toward his PhD in Education Leadership from Keiser University.

“Saint John’s School has as its mission the ongoing Christian formation of the whole child by developing the greatest potential of each individual spiritually, morally, intellectually, socially, culturally, and physically,” said Mr. Watters. “Our program is founded in both the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the authentic teachings of the Roman Catholic Church, which will prepare students for an adult life of commitment and service.”

The Archdiocese of Washington serves nearly 30,000 students in 98 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.

Brie Hall
Office of Communications
[email protected]