May 24, 2018
Thursday of the Seventh Week of Easter
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ:
We are in the season of commencement exercises. Commencement means a new beginning. Not only new beginnings and transitions for graduates, students, and faculty, but also for those entrusted with the ministry of leading them.
With regret, the Congregational Administration of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary at Immaculata has informed me that Sister Mary Anne Sweeney, IHM will be transitioning from her more than three decade career in educational leadership to a non-principal assignment as the Director of Spiritual Activities and a member of the Admissions Team at Saint Aloysius Academy, Bryn Mawr.
For the past six years, Sister Mary Anne has served our school with a selfless love, creative hope, and generous fidelity. She is a true servant leader and companion principal. Sister has enriched the lives and futures of every student, parent, faculty member, and staff person with her gentleness, compassion, and devotion. Her legacy is one of simplicity, gentleness, and genuineness and will continue to bear fruit in generations of students and Catholic School educators yet to come.
Sister Mary Anne will always be part of the SCLS Royal family. Her heroic influence and faithful witness in our school and parish will never be forgotten. I, personally, along with our entire school and parish, am overwhelmingly grateful to Sister for her friendship, leadership, and support of the mission of our school and her love and dedication to our students. Even Sister Mary Anne’s favorite word – phenomenal – cannot come close to completely describing the gift she has been to us.
As of May 3, 2018, the IHM Sisters had planned to send an IHM Sister as our next principal. However, due to a change in the needs of the IHM community, a Sister Principal is now unavailable. A Search Committee, with representatives from our school board, faculty, and parents, has been formed. We have begun the process of the initial review of prospective candidates so that our next principal will be onboard for the start of the new school year.
A community celebration will be held to honor our incredible Sister, principal, and friend. Faculty members Mrs. Cheryl Bonifacino and Mrs. Teri Martinelli along with Mrs. Erin Henderson representing our Parent Teacher Organization will coordinate this effort. Details will be announced soon.
I am deeply grateful that the IHM Sisters, while unable to provide a replacement for Sister Mary Anne as principal, are sending Sister M. Kathryn Teresa Clemmer, IHM who will join our faculty as a fulltime teacher in August.
I am also grateful to our school leadership team, especially Mrs. Aimee Surgeoner, Mrs. Megan Kenworthy, and Mrs. Kelly Rogers, who are lending their tremendous skills and support during this time of transition.
Saint Teresa of Calcutta said: Not everyone can do great things. But we can all do small things with great love. Sister Mary Anne Sweeney has not only done great things here at Saint Catherine Labouré School, but has done them with even greater love. And for that, we are forever grateful.
Sister Mary Anne is leaving our school with the same forward momentum that she brought to it. As a result, this summer our school will experience a time of renewal and transition in other ways. I am pleased to share these important updates:
- Faculty Compensation: The Diocese of Harrisburg adjusted faculty compensation standards earlier this year. SCLS teacher salaries will meet these new standards, which recognizes our faculty’s hard work and dedication and assists with recruitment and retention of faculty members.
- Murray Hall: The Murray Hall Concept Study Committee is completing its initial observations and will meet on May 29, 2018 to review findings and formulate next steps in obtaining diocesan permission to conduct a Feasibility Study for this much-needed refurbishment of the hub of our school’s academic, athletic, and activities programs.
- School Building and Classroom Improvements: During this spring semester, we have been considering ways to refresh and reorganize our education building to advance SCLS’s mission. This summer we will take these first basic steps:
- Sixth Grade Classrooms: The sixth grade classrooms will be relocated to the second floor establishing a middle school suite of our school building.
- Kindergarten Classrooms: The kindergarten classrooms will be relocated to the current sixth grade hallway (adjacent to the Pre-School). This is a first step in establishing a formal Early Childhood Education Center at Saint Catherine’s. This area will allow for more dedicated space and resources for our youngest learners.
- Computer Lab: The Christian McNaughton Technology Center will be relocated to the current Music Room placing our computer lab in a more central location of our school building. Chromebooks will be added to the lab to enhance our technology curriculum.
- Music Room: The Music Room will be relocated to Room 114 (current kindergarten classroom across from Murray Hall). The new Music Room will provide better access to both Murray Hall and the Shrine Church.
- Rooms 103 and 109: These areas will be available for special projects, meetings, conferences, and extracurricular activities, creating additional opportunities for learning and community life, as well as helping to alleviate scheduling demands for Murray Hall.
It will be a busy summer here at SCLS. These first steps will enhance and further the academic excellence and operational vitality of our outstanding Catholic School so that it is the best it can be for our students, families, faculty, and staff.
As all of these plans continue to evolve and develop, we are committed to communicating them with you. And of course, my door is always open. Please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns.
Let us continue to pray with and for Sister Mary Anne Sweeney during this special time of transition. Let us pray, too, for our school and each other. May the Holy Spirit guide us as, together, we embrace a future filled with hope: teaching minds, forming hearts, and growing disciples.
Sincerely yours in Christ Jesus,
Very Reverend Neil S. Sullivan, VF