As a lifelong Catholic, I believe a strong Catholic identity in the leaders of our schools is a necessity. I lead by example with my faith being the center of all decisions I make both personally and professionally. Leading a Catholic school is not only a job, it is a vocation.
My background includes a variety of skills that would bring strength to any organization. In my 20 years as an administrator, I have developed a strong passion for learning and improvement. In 11 years in the Diocese of Raleigh, I have brought a passion for high standards to everything my schools have done. St. Raphael and St. Mary Magdalene Catholic Schools saw a resurgence in enrollment, as well as in the areas of student, teacher, and parent satisfaction. Under my leadership and despite the challenges presented by Covid-19 during the 2020-21 school year, St. Mary Magdalene proudly and safely offered both in-person and remote instruction to over 600 students the entire school year, every single day.
In my 15 years in Catholic education, I believe advancement is key to offsetting the true cost of operating a school above tuition. Examples of this can be seen in my time at Madonna High School and St. Raphael Catholic School where advancement played a tremendous part in the success of each school. At Madonna High School, I led a $6 million project to completely renovate the school. Engaging our donors and stakeholders and showing the long-term vision for the school allowed us to complete this project in approximately 14 months. At St. Raphael, I started an Advancement Office with a $15,000 budget. Working closely with the Advancement Officer, within two months the job was a full-time position, and within 3.5 years, had generated over $500,000 in revenue for the school to further the mission and vision that had been set.
I have brought a clear vision and mission to the schools I have led. A five-year strategic plan with yearly checkpoints is something I have prided myself in leading. I have made it a yearly goal to spend time with members of the faculty in and out of their classrooms, as well as in mid-year and end-of-year one-to-one conferences. I am a firm believer in continuous improvement and moving forward. I have worked closely with the advisory councils at each school to ensure parent input and transparency are a daily part of our school culture.
One of my strongest skills is working with people. My ability to connect with others, including but not limited to students, parents, employees, faculty, community members, alumni, donors, and board members will be something that helps me to have success in this role. I have led and been part of multiple leadership teams to foster the mission and vision of the overall organization. Working and listening to others has allowed me as a leader to create a positive culture for success at all levels.
I value communication with our community members as a vital part of promoting and conveying our school’s vision and use many outlets to do this on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. In my current and previous roles, I developed or led an overhaul of the marketing efforts of the three schools, including branding, social media presence, and the importance of a clear and consistent message. Examples of this include personalized and community video messaging, weekly updates to convey and keep score of our yearly goals and strategic vision, and many other forms of communication to ensure our mission and vision are always at the forefront of what we are doing as an organization.
I was hired as the second principal in the history of St. Mary Magdalene Catholic School and was tasked to revitalize a school that had grown stagnant in recent years. During the first year of my employment, the Covid-19 Pandemic struck schools across the country. As a private school, the new challenge shifted to maintaining our enrollment, the safety of all associated with the school, the logistics of protocols associated with opening and reopening, and finally the shifting of financial resources. During the pandemic, while many schools faced large turnover and enrollment losses, our school increased our enrollment by 9% in the first three years of my time at the school.
- During Covid-19 Pandemic, the school I led remained open five days a week, full days, with no lapse in the education of the students, as well as not having to cut any employee positions.
- Partnered with multiple colleges and universities to develop strategic alliances to create growth opportunities for all members of the organization.
- Fostered change in the organizational culture to be more open, transparent, and accountable. One example of this is I led the restructuring of the school’s advisory council (board) and transitioned this group to be more impactful through strategic involvement in areas such as marketing, financial oversight, and the accreditation process.
- Restructured grade levels to ensure consistency, alignment, and instruction efficiency in the school's structure.
- Solicited and received multiple major gifts of $5,000 from donors during the pandemic to help fund school initiatives. During the pandemic, much of our fundraising efforts were required to be put on hold.
I was recruited in 2012 to rebuild a school community, which saw a 17% student attrition rate and large faculty turnover the year before. The school was also financially dependent on the church to balance its budget each year. Through building a strong and healthy culture by taking a personal interest in the lives of our faculty and families. The process which I led included the establishment of a development office, marketing, and recruitment office, and a restructuring of the administrative teams to be a bottom-up support system. Through these initiatives, our school saw an increase in enrollment of over 21% after five years and a teacher retention rate of 93%. Additionally, the church support for the school dropped from 9% to under 3% in the first five years, with the remaining support coming in the way of financial assistance to registered parishioners. Through my efforts and role, our school moved from minimal fundraising efforts to generating over $100,000 a year in gifts and support.
- Implemented an Office of Advancement, which generated over $500,000 over the first 3.5 years to offset operating costs, school improvements, and future projects to support the school’s strategic plan. In my role, I researched, solicited, and secured gifts ranging from $17,000 to $1,000, as well as many gifts under $1,000 and in-kind gifts.
- Instituted an Office of Marketing and Recruitment, which gave new families a personalized approach to recruitment and retention, leading to greater investment and involvement in our school community. This led to a major increase in enrollment, which fostered success in other areas mentioned above.
- Successfully led the school to a full reaccreditation in 2018, with one of the highest scores an institution can be given. This accreditation is based on stakeholder feedback, student feedback, faculty feedback, data collection, and implementing
- Expanded school-based activities to meet the goal that all students would be involved in at least one school activity outside of their classroom to increase student pride, achievement, and positivity in the school community.
I was recruited in 2008 to rebuild the school culture, as well as fix struggling enrollment and financial challenges. During the first year, I held the position, it was determined the building was structurally compromised and the school faced closure. I led a team that developed and implemented a five-year comprehensive growth plan that included a $6 million building renovation. I established a fundraising office to offset the costs of the capital projects on campus, which generated over $600,000 in the first three years. During my four years at Weirton Madonna, the school saw an increase in enrollment of 22%.
- Successfully led a $5 million campus renovation, which included the remodeling of all classrooms, replacing over 250 technology devices, replacing and updating all network and servers, and turning the former cafeteria into a campus hall, which could be used as not only a cafeteria but also for events on campus by the school and community.
- Instituted the Madonna Plus Program, which partnered with the top-ranked college in the state to allow students during their junior and senior years to complete 53 dual credit hours and the opportunity to go on a mission trip during their senior year at a severely reduced tuition rate. This also provided students to leave the school with an Associate's Degree leaving high school.
- Researched, solicited, and secured gifts from donors, alumni, community members, and parents for gift amounts ranging from $30,000 to $1,000, as well as many gifts under $1,000 and in-kind gifts.
- Directed the revision of the 9-12 core curriculum including scope and sequence, pacing guides, as well as specific training and staff development opportunities.