|7/5/2017 9:34:00 AM|
Meet your new school administrator
This fall, students will be greeted by a number of new school principals and presidents. The Portland archdiocesan Department of Catholic Schools has announced five new principals, an interim principal, two new presidents and a new associate superintendent. Here are their brief biographies and reflections on their appointments.
As a master’s degree student, Gary Beckley — new associate superintendent of Portland archdiocesan schools — was part of the University of Notre Dame’s Alliance for Catholic Education program, which serves under-resourced Catholic schools. It “changed my life,” said Beckley, a native of Akron, Ohio.
Earning a bachelor’s in economics and finance from John Carroll University in Ohio, Beckley was drawn to teaching his senior year. Both his parents were educators, and he’s “always had a deep respect for the profession,” he said.
After receiving his master’s through Notre Dame, Beckley earned a doctorate in education focused on leadership and professional practice from Trevecca Nazarene University in Nashville, Tennessee. He taught middle school math, language arts, religion, history and science for seven years and served as principal in Washington, D.C., for three. For the past four years, Beckley was principal of Holy Trinity School in Beaverton, where he said a creative staff showed that “the strength of the school comes from the collaborative work that an entire faculty brings to the table.”
Beckley and his wife, Anna, have four daughters, ages 7, 5, 3 and a newborn. They are parishioners of Holy Trinity Parish in Beaverton.
Kelli Clark, principal of St. Mary’s Academy in Portland for the past four years, will now serve the children and families at her parish school as principal of St. Ignatius in Southeast Portland.
Clark said one of the greatest gifts she’s received at St. Mary’s is the “lived experience of the charisms of the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary, a charism that also shapes St. Ignatius.” The sisters founded St. Mary’s and staffed St. Ignatius.
A seasoned educator and administrator, Clark served as program director and principal of Open Meadow High School in Portland prior to her role at St. Mary’s Academy. She’s been an adjunct faculty member at Marylhurst University and assistant principal at Rowe Middle School in Milwaukie; she’s also held teaching posts at Sellwood and Kraxberger middle schools.
Clark was born on Otis Air National Guard Base in Massachusetts and grew up primarily in Puyallup, Washington. She earned a bachelor’s in communications from Washington State University in Pullman and a master’s in teaching from Lewis and Clark College in Portland. She holds administrative licenses from Lewis and Clark and the University of Portland.
Clark is married to Steve Kucas.
Deborah Dewar is taking 20 years in the classroom with her to lead St. Joseph School in Salem as principal. While she’ll miss her years at Sacred Heart School in Medford, Dewar said she’s “naturally an administrator at heart” and ready for the switch.
“Now that our (two) daughters have grown up and relocated, my husband, Jake, and I are ready for our next big adventure,” she said.
Dewar grew up in California and was educated at Catholic schools through high school. She worked her way through college, earning a bachelor’s in psychology from the University of California, Davis, but went back to school to earn a master’s in education from Southern Oregon University in Ashland.
“I realized that while I wanted to help children, psychology wasn’t the right fit,” she said. Dewar went on to teach at Sacred Heart for two decades, 17 of them as the middle school science teacher.
“I am excited to take on new challenges and be an active part of growth and progress at St. Joseph Catholic School,” said Dewar.
Nicole Foran is the new principal of St. Mary’s Academy, the 158-year-old all-girls school in downtown Portland. A Portland native, Foran began her career in publishing but soon learned her passion was working with high school students.
“There’s no better way to spend one’s days than in the company of passionate, creative, energized young people,” said Foran, a parishioner of Our Lady of the Lake Church in Lake Oswego.
Foran holds a bachelor’s in English from California State University, Fullerton; an administrative license from the University of Portland; and a master’s in education with an emphasis in English from Portland State University. She also was a teaching fellow at the Oregon Humanities Center for four summers.
Foran has worked as a corporate law librarian and as a managing editor of a publishing company. Her educational career includes 13 years as teacher and academic adviser at St. Mary’s; for the past two years, she’s served as assistant principal of student life.
Foran said the prep school is “on the precipice of its next chapter,” with opportunities to evolve the curriculum and co-curricular programs and respond to the changing social and cultural landscape. “I’m energized by the possibilities that lay before us,” she said.
Married to Patrick, Foran has four children, ages 17-23.
John Matcovich’s love of education was born just out of college, while teaching at an economically challenged school. The new president of Valley Catholic High School in Beaverton had a stint in commercial real estate, but his passion is to work with kids and their families. Which is why the associate superintendent of Portland archdiocesan Catholic schools is looking forward to returning to an instructional setting.
“I’m especially excited about how diverse Valley Catholic is,” said Matcovich, who was associate superintendent for two-and-a-half years.
Matcovich said he’s grateful for the perspective his job in the schools department gave him. “It stretched me to see a bigger picture of Catholic education and to be a leader on a larger stage.”
A Portland native, Matcovich earned a bachelor’s in economics and a master’s in education before serving as a principal for 16 years and a teacher for seven. He worked at various schools in the archdiocese, including St. Stephen, Jesuit High School and St. Thomas More. Matcovich was principal of St. Ignatius for 11 years.
Matcovich and wife, Jennifer Young, have five grown children and are parishioners of St. Clare Church in Southwest Portland.
Colin McGinty, hired as the new president of Central Catholic High School in Portland, says he’s “humbled and honored to be given the chance to join the community.”
McGinty spent the past 15 years at the University of Portland, where he held a variety of roles focused on development for financial aid, program support and capital projects. Most recently, he was associate athletic director of development.
McGinty, who grew up in California, earned a bachelor’s in sociology from U.P. in 1999 and completed a master’s in business administration there in 2007. He and his wife, Robbie, have two sons, ages 9 and almost 3.
Reflecting on his career, McGinty said he was attracted to serving students because “an education provides the tools that allow a person to achieve far more than they … believed was possible.”
The parishioner of St. John Fisher Parish in Southwest Portland said he already has been “overwhelmed with the welcome” he’s received from Central Catholic. “It is a testament to just how strong a community it is — it’s more like a family.”
Ashley Sheridan, interim principal of Holy Trinity School in Beaverton, has the teaching gene. Her mom, grandmother, aunt and cousin were all teachers. “I saw their happiness in caring for children and naturally followed their lead,” said Sheridan, who has taught at Holy Trinity for six years.
Sheridan was born in Redwood City, California, and spent part of her childhood there and in Portland. After graduating from St. Mary’s Academy in Portland, she earned a bachelor’s from Oregon State University and a master’s in teaching from Pacific University in Forest Grove. She is nearly finished with a Catholic administrator’s license from the University of Portland.
Prior to working as a fifth- and eighth-grade teacher at Holy Trinity, Sheridan taught at Lifeworks Children’s Day Treatment Center, aiding children with serious psychiatric difficulties.
Members of St. Pius X Parish in Portland, Sheridan and husband John have been married for 11 years and have two children, ages 10 and 7.
Sheridan said she’s committed to the Holy Trinity community and eager to find “new ways to support teachers in their pursuit of excellent teaching.”
William Summer, the new principal of St. Francis School in Sherwood, took his first steps toward a career in education in 1985, when he was introduced to St. Don Bosco by the Salesian religious order at Camp Don Bosco in New Jersey.
“I have carried that Salesian charism with me ever since, on a roundabout journey as a camp counselor, soccer coach, substitute teacher, teacher, department chair and into administration,” Summer said.
Summer was born and raised in the Virgin Islands and graduated from Spring Hill College in Mobile, Alabama, with a bachelor’s in communication arts and a minor in English. He then worked at a local television station as technical director before trying the film industry and moving to San Diego. In California, he began substitute teaching.
Hooked on the new profession, he took a teaching position at St. Petersburg High School in St. Petersburg, Florida.
Summer earned a master’s degree in 2012 after attending the University of South Florida and National Louis University’s Master’s in Educational Leadership Program in Tampa. He comes to St. Francis from St. Joseph School in Salem.
Summer and his wife, Celeste, have two boys, ages 8 and 10, and are members of St. Francis Parish in Sherwood.
Bob Weber, the new head of school at Blanchet, comes to the Salem middle school and high school from Valley Catholic School in Beaverton, where he served as president for the past seven years. Weber will be returning to a familiar academic community; he was vice principal and then principal of Blanchet from 1997 to 2010.
“I’m excited to return to a school community that I am very familiar with and looking forward to helping grow and develop Blanchet,” said Weber.
Born in Bellevue, Washington, Weber grew up in Beaverton and was a member of St. Pius X Parish. After graduating from Central Catholic High School in Portland, he earned a bachelor’s in journalism from the University of Oregon and a master’s in education from Pacific University in Forest Grove.
Weber has been married to his wife, Christina, for 14 years and the couple has three children, ages 8, 10 and 12. The family attends Queen of Peace Parish in Salem.
The longtime administrator said he was attracted to education by the opportunity to help young adults reach their potential, “like others did for me.”
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