Superintendent of Catholic Schools Stepping Down in June 2010

March 11, 2010

Patricia Weitzel-O’Neill, Ph.D., superintendent of schools for the Archdiocese of Washington, will step down in June 2010 to become executive director of the Center for Catholic Education at Boston College’s Lynch School of Education.

The center is dedicated to training leaders in Catholic education and to researching and developing solutions to the critical challenges facing Catholic schools, colleges and universities.

During her eight-year tenure at the archdiocese, Dr. Weitzel-O’Neill focused the work of the Catholic Schools Office on strengthening the academic programs for Catholic schools. Under her leadership, a standards-based curriculum was implemented for all archdiocesan schools, professional development standards were strengthened and expanded, and the use of data analysis for academic and overall school planning was expanded significantly. In addition, this past September, the first comprehensive study and revision of Catholic school policies in over 30 years was completed.

Dr. Weitzel-O’Neill was instrumental in efforts to secure the DC Opportunity Scholarship Program in 2004, a federal program that made it possible for thousands of very low-income children to attend non-public schools. She helped establish the Don Bosco Cristo Rey High School in Takoma Park, Maryland and was a co-founder of the Mid-Atlantic Catholic Schools Consortium, a recognized national model of diocesan collaboration designed to strengthen Catholic schools. Founded in 2005, the consortium of six dioceses supports the vital role that Catholic schools play in faith formation and works to strengthen and improve the structure and governance of Catholic schools and to ensure long-term and government financial support for them and their families.

“Dr. Weitzel-O’Neill brought to the Catholic Schools Office a strong vision and commitment to strengthening Catholic schools throughout the archdiocese and positioning them for future success,” said Washington Archbishop Donald W. Wuerl. “She will be greatly missed, but this is a wonderful opportunity for her to share her gifts with Catholic schools at a national level,” he added.

“It has been a privilege to serve the Archdiocese of Washington under the leadership of both Archbishop Donald Wuerl and Cardinal Theodore McCarrick. I look forward to this new opportunity to serve at the national level and will take with me all that I have learned from the truly dedicated principals, pastors and colleagues with whom I have had the good fortune to work. I know that good things will continue in the archdiocese because there is no better team of professionals dedicated to Catholic schools than those who work in the Catholic schools office and the other offices of the archdiocese,” said Weitzel-O’Neill.

Prior to joining the archdiocese, Dr. Weitzel-O’Neill served as the vice-president of academic affairs for Trinity Washington University in Washington, DC. During her tenure at the university, she also served as an associate professor of sociology and the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.

The Archdiocese of Washington includes 96 Catholic schools serving 29,000 students in the District of Columbia and five Maryland counties: Calvert, Charles, Montgomery, Prince George’s and St. Mary’s. A search committee will be formed to identify a new superintendent.

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