Principal to resume tempo of teaching Baltimore Archdiocese has formed committee to find replacement

January 26, 1996|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,SUN STAFF

For the past six years, Sister Mary Monaghan has pulled lunch duty and monitored the halls as principal of St. Jane Frances School in Riviera Beach.

On June 14, she will walk the halls for what might be her final time as principal. She is leaving to return to the classroom, this time as a mathematics teacher for middle school students.

"I want to go back and pick up the tempo of the classroom again," said Sister Mary, 58. "I find that exciting."

Her announcement saddened students at the Roman Catholic school on Jane Drive.

"I felt sad because she's a good principal," said Joseph Selba, a 13-year-old eighth-grader and president of the school's student council. "She always tells us to put school work first. She said there are certain times for school work and for play."

The decision was not an easy one for Sister Mary, who has been involved in education for 37 years. But last August, she underwent abdominal surgery. It was her third operation in three years. When she recovered, she told officials of the Archdiocese of Baltimore that she wanted to leave the job she has held since 1990.

"I gave it a lot of thought to make sure I was making the right choice for myself and for the children," said Sister Mary, who cited the stress of 15-hour days as one of her reasons for leaving.

The archdiocese has organized a search committee to find a new principal, said Suzanne Sullivan, assistant director for the VTC archdiocese's division of human resource services.

Although Ms. Sullivan declined to release the number of applicants or their names, she did say the committee is looking for a practicing Catholic with a commitment to Catholic education, a master's degree in education and at least five years of elementary teaching experience. Three of those years would preferably have been spent at a Catholic school.

"Numbers [of applicants] are not as important as the quality of the people applying," Ms. Sullivan said. She added that finding a suitable principal could take as long as three months. The archdiocese hopes to make its selection before the end of the school year, to give the new principal time to learn about the school, its students and its teachers, she said.

Sister Mary said her last day will be difficult. But, she said, she hopes she might be able to remain at St. Jane Frances as a teacher.

"I don't look at it as a demotion," Sister Mary said of her move. "To me, teaching in a classroom is as noble as being a principal."

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