Students at seven diocesan schools will begin the 2012-2013 academic year with a new leader at the helm. Henry Fortier, superintendent of Catholic schools in the Diocese of Orlando, announced new principals and presidents who will lead Orlando Catholic school children in their faith journeys and educations. They officially began their duties July 1.
Pictured top left to right: Scott Brogan, Dr. Michael Coury, Mary Ann Irwin.
Pictured bottom left to right: David L. McKenzie, Betty Powers, Lorainne Rotz, and Donna Witherspoon.
Scott Brogan, principal of Bishop Moore Catholic High School, Orlando
Brogan, a product of Catholic education, holds a bachelor’s degree in theology with a minor in philosophy from St. Bonaventure (N.Y.) University, and a master’s degree in education leadership from Barry University in Miami. He served as assistant principal and admissions director, and religion teacher and campus minister at Bishop Moore prior to being promoted to principal. He has also worked as a campus minister/teacher at Santa Fe Catholic High School in Lakeland.
“The value of a Catholic education goes to the very heart of who we are called to be as a people of God. We are not merely schools. We are communities inspired by God’s word, living God’s message and loving God’s people. Catholic schools provide an environment where each person can walk his or her path with other companions on the road, knowing that the journey in itself has purpose and meaning.”
Dr. Michael Coury, president of Father Lopez Catholic High School, Daytona Beach
Coury holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting/business accounting from Creighton University in Omaha, Neb., and master’s degrees and a doctoral degree in educational administration from Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. He previously served as president of Pope John Paul II High School in Boca Raton, president of St. Michael’s Catholic Academy in Austin, Texas, principal of St. Joseph‘s preparatory School in Philadelphia, and superintendent of Catholic schools in the Columbus (Ohio) Diocese. He also served as superintendent in schools of New York and Iowa. He also played an instrumental role in drafting the proposed constitution and bylaws for the governing boards of the three Catholic high schools in the Diocese of Orlando.
“The essence of a Catholic education is that we have the opportunity and the responsibility to educate the whole person. Parents have a right to expect that our Catholic schools will become the best at developing the potential of each student academically and spiritually. This will allow them to become leaders in the Church, their communities and in their chosen careers.”
Mary Ann Irwin, principal of Holy Name of Jesus Catholic School, Indialantic
Irwin, who recently relocated from Warsaw, Ind., holds a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Indiana University in Bloomington, and a master’s degree in administration and supervision and an educational specialist degree in school superintendent, both from Ball State University in Muncie, Ind. She has served as superintendent of North Miami Community School Corporation in Denver, Ind., and has also worked as an assistant principal, teacher, principal, K-12 curriculum director, and district-level administrator in Indiana.
“The value of Catholic education is that our students and families are able to receive a high caliber academic education infused with Catholic faith-based teachings and high behavior expectations.”
David L. McKenzie, president of Trinity Catholic High School, Ocala
McKenzie holds a bachelor’s degree from LaSalle University in Philadelphia, and a master’s degree in education, leadership, management and policy from Seton Hall in South Orange, N.J. He served as president/principal at St. Vincent Pallotti Preparatory High School in Laurel, Md. He has also worked as a vice principal, director of administrative services and teacher at the elementary, high school and collegiate levels and has held administrative roles within the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. He was knighted by Pope John Paul II in the Order of St. Gregory the Great.
“Catholic Schools exist for one reason — evangelization. We are called to bring our students into a closer relationship with Jesus through the sacraments and his Church. Every person has an inherent dignity, which stems from being created in the image of God. In Catholic Schools we affirm that dignity in numerous ways: by providing an environment centered in the Eucharist; offering rigorous academics that honor excellence in teaching and learning, respect differences, expect honesty, applaud achievement; and challenging our students to live the Gospel message.”
Betty Powers, principal of Basilica School of St. Paul, Daytona Beach
Powers holds a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Bethune-Cookman College and a master’s degree in education from the University of Central Florida.
She began her teaching career in 1971 at South Daytona Elementary School and held several positions in the school system before being named principal of Turie T. Small Elementary, a position she held for 16 years before retiring from Volusia County Public Schools. She came out of retirement to assume her new position. Powers has worked steadfastly in her community to contribute to the education and professional opportunities of young men and women, and has helped many adults acquire their GED and high school diplomas.
“The religious aspect of the Catholic education teaches our children their character of being honest and responsible. We, as teachers and parents, need to lead by example. Our children need to know that we love one another, we care about one another and we put Christ first in our lives. It is by demonstrating our expectations that children will learn the character traits needed to succeed.”
Lorianne Rotz, principal of St. Mary Magdalen School, Altamonte Springs
Rotz holds a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a master’s in educational leadership, both from the University of Central Florida, Orlando. She served as interim principal of the school for four months. She was the assistant principal and a teacher at St. Margaret Mary Catholic School in Winter Park, where she established the academic support program, and also taught at Meadow Woods Elementary School in Orlando. A graduate of St. Mary Magdalen and former student at Bishop Moore Catholic High School, Rotz is a national presenter on curriculum and instruction, a member of the diocesan Staff Development Committee, and is a board member of the Bishop Moore school board.
“A Catholic education is the greatest gift you can give your children. Catholic schools address the spiritual and academic growth of students in an environment that promotes Gospel values. It is where students are taught to live out their faith in all that they do so it becomes second nature, providing a foundation to hold onto throughout their lives.”
Donna Witherspoon, principal of Our Lady of Lourdes School, Melbourne
Witherspoon holds a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Rollins College and a master’s degree in educational leadership from Barry University. She has worked for the Diocese of Orlando for 11 years as a teacher and computers technology coordinator at Good Shepherd Catholic School in Orlando, has taught at Hiawassee Elementary in Orlando, and has served as the assistant director and elementary coordinator at Dairy Road Discovery Center in West Melbourne. She received the 21st Century Catholic Teacher of the Year Award from the diocese 2011.
“Catholic education is an essential part of students and families growing in their faith. It provides the opportunity for students to learn the history, traditions, reasoning, morals and values of their faith while being able to celebrate it every day in their learning environment. It is an effective form of evangelization. Students need to be nurtured spiritually and emotionally, as well as academically.”
Editor’s Note: This article will be published in the August 10 edition of the Florida Catholic.