Orlando Catholic schools get two new principals

Nichols Pavgouzas is the new principal of St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic School in St. Cloud and Barbara Schirard returns to All Souls Catholic School in Sanford as its interim principal. Both grew up in the same community and look forward to sharing their faith through their work. (GLENDA MEEKINS)

The difference Catholic school can make in a child’s life can be summed up in one word says Barbara Schirard, interim principal of All Souls Catholic School. “Jesus – Christ is present in everything we do.” Schirard is one of two new principals prepping for the start of the school year in the Diocese of Orlando.

Schirard has a long-time relationship with All Souls in Sanford. As a parishioner, she and her husband, Mike, were married in the historic chapel. He and his siblings attended the school as did the Schirard children, who received their Sacraments at All Souls Parish.

She brings extensive classroom experience as a former teacher of Pre-K, kindergarten, and middle school students at All Souls. Most recently, she taught science at St. Charles Borromeo Catholic School in Orlando, but she’s eager to return to All Souls where she spent so many years. “I look forward to outreach in the community,” shared Schirard. “To really spend time with the families we serve, getting to know them, their needs and preaching the Gospel. Being a teacher, a principal, a parent – all of that is a vocation and I’m just excited to lead the charge and bring Jesus out into the community.”

Schirard has a Master of Education degree from St. Leo University and is continuing her Educational Leadership certification program at the University of Central Florida. She also received the Distinguished Catholic School Educator Award in the Diocese of Orlando as Teacher of the Year in 2013.

Nicholas Pavgouzas joins the diocese as principal of St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic School in St. Cloud. He has a Master of Education from the University of Central Florida and has worked in the Seminole County Public School system for a number of years. He was as an Advanced Placement Government and Economics teacher, volleyball and soccer coach, and finally, assistant principal at Sanford Middle School.

While thankful for his public school experience, Pavgouzas explained, “Coming back to the diocese and being able to serve our families is very exciting for me… being able to have Christ back at the focus of what we do.” He looks forward to building up the whole student, not just academically, but spiritually as well.

Pavgouzas is also a product of the Catholic school system. He graduated from All Souls and served as assistant director of operations for the parish, school and cemetery for seven years. Referring to this Year of the Eucharist, he noted, “To become the Eucharist for our students and teachers is to be a supportive leader throughout the year spiritually and educationally—just be there, present for them in any needs they have; to be Eucharist at that time.” Pavgouzas and his wife, Jessica, will be relocating to St. Cloud to better serve the school and community.

Schirard also draws great inspiration from this 50th jubilee of the diocese. “I believe in servant leadership,” she said. “My hope is to be the Eucharist through support, an ear, a friend, whatever it is that the teachers and students need; to be the light of Christ for the staff and, in turn, they are the light of Christ to the community that we serve.”

Teacher Kick-off Day is at Holy Family Parish, Orlando, Aug. 6. The first day of school is Aug. 8.

By Glenda Meekins of the Florida Catholic – July 26, 2018