New principals named for Catholic schools in 2019-20

High Schools

Dr. Tracy Bonday, J.D., M.S. Ed, who served from 2015-19 as superintendent of Catholic schools in the Diocese of Des Moines, Iowa, and led a strategic planning initiative to maintain the longtime viability of Catholic schools, has been named head of the high school division of Ursuline Academy.

Bonday is a graduate of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida, where she earned both a bachelor of business administration and a juris doctor. She also has a master of science in educational administration from Nova Southeastern University. She completed coursework at Drake University to earn her superintendent’s licensure.

While at the University of Miami, Bonday was a member of Omicron Delta Kappa National Leadership Society, Golden Key and Iron Arrow, the highest honor bestowed on members of the university community.

Bonday has 21 years of experience in a variety of educational environments. Early in her career, she served as the director of student activities and summer conferences at Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas. Under her direction, the summer conference program yielded revenue of $250,000 for the university.

Prior to moving to Richmond, Virginia, in 2007, she worked both in the private and public sector. She spent four years working in development at Bishop Verot High School in Fort Myers, Florida, implementing and teaching the school’s Advanced Placement Government Program. She also taught World History at Lehigh Senior High School, a Title I school in the Lee County public school system.

Prior to arriving in the Diocese of Des Moines, she served as chief school administrator of Blessed Sacrament Huguenot, a regional diocesan pre-K through 12 building.

Bonday has two daughters. Her older daughter, Cassie, teaches high school math in Charlottesville, Virginia. Her younger daughter, Gabi, graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 2017 and serves on the USS Chafee, a destroyer assigned to Pearl Harbor.

“I’m hoping my years in Catholic education will allow me to build on the tradition of excellence at Ursuline Academy and to make sure our academic and co-curricular programs not only sustain the school’s mission to empower women and serve the community, but move from excellent to extraordinary,” Bonday said.


Gerald DeBose has been named interim principal of St. Augustine High School. DeBose has served as assistant principal at St. Augustine since 2018 and officially began his new role on May 25.

“Gerald is a highly respected leader who brings a wealth of academic experience, concern for students and a collaborative style that will help him excel in this role and help us continue to enhance our academic curriculum,” said Dr. Kenneth St. Charles, St. Augustine president and CEO. “I look forward to partnering with him as we work to transform the lives of our young men in the Josephite tradition.”

Prior to St. Augustine, DeBose served as principal of McDonogh 35 College Preparatory High School. He brings with him more than 15 years of administrative experience.

“St. Augustine has a long history of providing an excellent education, as reflected in a strong network of proud and accomplished alumni,” DeBose said. “I look forward to working with the talented faculty and staff, who are dedicated to shaping our students into well-prepared and service-minded young men, poised to take their place as leaders in our community.”

A native of New Orleans, DeBose is an alumnus of St. Augustine, class of 1976. He earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Xavier University of Louisiana. He received his master’s degree in mathematics teaching from Loyola University New Orleans and a master’s degree in educational administration from the University of New Orleans.

DeBose succeeds Sean J. Goodwin, who announced his intention to leave as principal of St. Augustine at the end of the 2018-19 academic year. In a note to students and parents, Goodwin said he feels a deep sense of pride looking back over his seven-year tenure.


Dr. Courtney Millet has been named principal of St. Charles Catholic High School in LaPlace.

“My experience in education spans from classroom teaching to district superintendent,” Millet said. “I am fortunate to have had the opportunity to serve students in Catholic, public and charter schools in Louisiana. Increasing academic performance and raising educational expectations of all students have been my priorities.

“My Catholic faith is the lens that foundationally guides my thinking and practice. I am happy to have a strong connection and commitment to St. Charles Catholic High School. My husband and I, along with my two sons, graduated from St. Charles Catholic, and I later served as director there. I look forward to returning to St. Charles Catholic as its principal and spiritual leader with a great sense of enthusiasm, commitment, faith and purpose. Our standard of excellence in education, combined with an atmosphere where Christian values are practiced, taught and developed, help make SCC the academic and spiritual leader for the River Parishes.”



Perry Srygley Rogers, who taught at De La Salle High School from 1997 to 2000 and in 2018 became assistant principal, has been named the school’s new principal, succeeding Paul Kelly, who has been elevated to president.

Rogers graduated summa cum laude from Lipscomb University in 1993 and received a master of arts degree in teaching in 1997 from Tulane University. After teaching social studies at De La Salle for three years, she worked with Mid-City Ministries, a local children’s non-profit, before returning to the classroom at De La Salle in 2011.

She served as assistant principal for the 2018-19 school year and will continue to teach a section of AP U.S. History.

Rogers has three children.

Christian Brother Donald Johanson, leader of the Christian Brothers San Francisco-New Orleans District, cited De La Salle’s “strong” 70-year history of education and added that both Kelly and Rogers “embrace the vision of the board.”

“They will continue to focus on our strategic plan, providing the best Lasallian Catholic education for our students,” Brother Donald said.

“I feel very fortunate to be working with students who have such a strong sense of community and with teachers who are so dedicated to our students,” Rogers said. “I am very excited to continue building on De La Salle’s tradition of connecting classroom learning directly to community and global issues of interest and concern to our students. I look forward very  much to supporting our teachers and students as we live out our Lasallian mission through rigorous academic work.”


Shannon Bland has been named head of school of the new St. Thérèse Academy in Metairie, which will educate children with exceptional needs and learning differences. The new school will be housed at the former Our Lady of Divine Providence School, 917 N. Atlanta St. in Metairie.

Bland has a master’s degree in guidance and counseling from Loyola University New Orleans, a master’s degree in educational administration from the University of Scranton and a master’s degree in dyslexia therapy from the University of Southern Mississippi. She taught kindergarten and pre-kindergarten and served as a school guidance counselor and a lower school principal.

“The opening of a new school brings many challenges and great opportunities,” Bland said. “I am excited about all of the possibilities that St. Thérèse will bring to not only our students but also to the faculty and families that are going to make up our school. Our goal is to create an exceptional school that will meet the needs of our students by using various techniques and methods.

“St. Thérèse Academy is rooted in Catholic values and has focused its attention on serving a diverse student body with a variety of learning differences. Students will receive an individualized education that addresses their particular needs in an environment that focuses on the spiritual, personal, physical, social and emotional aspects of each student. We are creating an innovative approach to learning that will meet the students where they are and use best practices and the latest research to ensure that they will be successful.”

St.  Thérèse will serve grades kindergarten through 12th grade. All students at St. Thérèse Academy will require an individual evaluation and/or a diagnosis of an educational exceptionality. Applications are now open, and open houses are scheduled for July 20 and 27.


Christopher Collins has been named interim principal of St. Margaret Mary School in Slidell. Collins has more than 15 years of experience as a professional educator in the Archdiocese of New Orleans, having served as a teacher for Immaculata High School (2005-07) and the Academy of Our Lady (2007-09).

In 2009, Collins became the dean of student affairs at Archbishop Shaw High School, succeeding long-time administrator Earnie Chaisson upon his retirement. Within two years, Collins was asked to serve as the assistant principal of academics at Archbishop Shaw. In that role, Collins collaborated with faculty and other administrators to expand the academic offerings for students, established the 25 and Above Club for students achieving higher than a 25 composite on the ACT, coordinated the professional development for faculty, served on the strategic planning committee, school advisory board and served as the site coordinator for federal grants and dual-enrollment programs.

Collins has served on multiple external review teams with AdvancED, which he credits for giving him insight into the successful implementation of various programs in local schools to ensure student success.

“The years that I have worked in the archdiocese have prepared me for this new opportunity,” Collins said. “As a Salesian educator, I have had the benefit of having studied St. John Bosco’s educational philosophy and preventive system, and I look forward to sharing this information with the St. Margaret Mary community. It is my desire to honor St. Margaret Mary’s long history of successfully educating her students spiritually, academically and emotionally while embracing the exciting new opportunities that will prepare her students for the 21st century.”


Kimberly Downes has been named principal of St. Clement of Rome School in Metairie, the school from which she graduated in 1985.

“I am proud and excited to have the unique opportunity to serve as principal of my alma mater,” Downes said. “I attended St. Clement from kindergarten through eighth grade (1976-85). My three younger siblings also attended St. Clement, and my parents have been involved in the school and parish as well. St. Clement is a very special place to me and my entire family.”

After graduating from Mount Carmel Academy in 1989, Downes attended the University of New Orleans, earning a bachelor of arts degree in elementary education (1993) and a master of education degree in curriculum and instruction (1999).

She has served for 24 years in Catholic education within the Archdiocese of New Orleans, beginning at St. Mary Magdalen School in Metairie, where she served for 20 years in various roles, including middle school teacher and coordinator, pre-K2 program director, assistant principal and principal. Her son attended St. Mary Magdalen for 10 of those years.

She became assistant principal and pre-K2 program director of St. Clement of Rome in 2015.

“I have enjoyed serving in these roles for the past four years,” she said. “I feel that I am truly back at home, where I spent my childhood. I am honored and grateful to be able to continue my ministry in Catholic education as principal of St. Clement. I will strive to uphold the strong traditions of faith, service and academic excellence that St. Clement provides for its students. I look forward to working together with our pastor, Father Luis Rodriguez, and our phenomenal faculty and staff to fulfill the school’s mission to guide and nurture children in order to prepare them to function as productive and responsible Catholic Christians in today’s society. It is my privilege to work in partnership with our school families at St. Clement to help our students grow closer to God and to academically succeed in a safe, challenging and loving Catholic environment where ‘We Walk by Faith!’”


Jeannine Dwyer has been appointed the new principal of Our Lady of Perpetual Help School in Kenner.

Dwyer, a graduate of St. Catherine of Siena School and Archbishop Chapelle High School, holds a bachelor of science in management from the University of New Orleans, an alternative education certification from Teach Greater New Orleans (University of New Orleans) and master’s degree in educational leadership from the University of Phoenix.

She served from 2013-19 as assistant principal of St. Cletus School in Gretna. From 2011-13, she was assistant principal of West Jefferson High School after serving for one year as dean of students.

She was dean of students at Bonnabel Magnet Academy High School from 2009-10 after serving previously for one year as professional development resource teacher at John Q. Adams Middle School.

She taught eighth-grade English and math at Gretna Middle School from 2005-08 and taught math at Israel Augustine Middle School in Orleans Parish from 2004-05.

Prior to her classroom experience, she was business manager for an insurance broker and a program analyst for the Department of Agriculture.

Dwyer and her husband Tim have been married for 34 years and have two children, who are both engineers.

“Our Lady of Perpetual Help School has a 91-year history of educating families in the heart of Rivertown,” Dwyer said. “I am blessed and privileged to serve this community of students and families and continue the Catholic educational legacy of this 150-year-old parish.

“OLPH School is proud to serve a diverse population of students, many of whom participate in the state’s scholarship and voucher program. My vision is to support and educate the whole child, first and foremost, nourishing the soul. Just as Jesus calls us to recognize the sacredness of each child, I am devoted to providing each student and his or her family with an environment rooted in love, respect, prayer and service.

“As a servant leader and educator, my goal is to afford OLPH students with opportunities that challenge them academically, nurture them emotionally and nourish their souls with the Catholic faith.”


Lindsay Sweeney Guidry, a proud alumna of the Archdiocese of New Orleans’ Catholic School system, has been named principal of St. Ann School in Metairie. Guidry earned a bachelor of science degree from Spring Hill College in Mobile, Alabama, and a master of education degree from the University of New Orleans.

Guidry began working in education in 2002, and in 2005 she joined the faculty of St. Ann School, where she has served as a teacher, coordinator of student affairs and curriculum coordinator. Guidry was responsible for standardized testing preparation and administration, data review, supervision of curriculum, academic standards alignment and lesson planning.

Guidry has served as a member of AdvancED accreditation review teams and as a member of the AdvancED planning team for St. Ann. She facilitated professional development opportunities, the purchase of student materials and student services and worked collaboratively with the school technology coordinator and teachers to oversee the implementation and integration of research-based technology, including a one-to-one iPad program, a STEM enrichment group and a makerspace, ensuring students are prepared to thrive in today’s world.

Since accepting the principalship for the upcoming school year, Guidry has worked alongside longstanding principal, Susan Kropog, and the members of the administrative and leadership teams to ensure a smooth transition that upholds the traditions and vision of St. Ann School.

“I believe the goal of Catholic education is to inspire students to form a lifelong relationship with God and a love of learning,” Guidry said. “As a college student, I learned the importance of caring for the spiritual, social and intellectual growth of each person. This ideal has influenced how I view my role as an educator. Our mission is to educate the whole child by fostering lifelong moral integrity, Catholic faith and academic excellence. As principal, I look forward to fostering a sense of community by working alongside our dedicated faculty and staff, parents, pastoral staff and parish community members to help each student reach his or her highest potential.”


Theresa Hebert, a graduate of St. Ann School and Archbishop Chapelle High School, has been appointed principal of St. Mary Magdalen School in Metairie. She holds a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Louisiana State University and a master’s degree in educational leadership from the University of Holy Cross.

Hebert served from 2012-19 as a middle school math teacher at St. Philip Neri School in Metairie, where she also was moderator of the student council and member of the Ladies Cooperative Club Board.

From 2005-11, she was a math teacher at J.H. Williams Middle School in Abbeville, Louisiana. She also served as a leader on the school improvement team and dance team moderator. Hebert was a math and science teacher at Broadmoor Middle School in Baton Rouge from 2002-05 and a fourth-grade teacher at the Baton Rouge Center for Visual and Performing Arts in 2001-02.

“I am honored to become part of the faith-filled community of St. Mary Magdalen School,” Hebert said. “Throughout this upcoming school year, I plan to create positive and lasting relationships with the students, faculty, parents and other school stakeholders. My goals for St. Mary Magdalen include focusing on technology integration and curriculum improvements, while upholding the mission and vision of the school – ‘All For Jesus.’”


Richard Hill, who has served as an administrator and assistant principal of St. Catherine of Siena School since 2006, has been named principal of St. Philip Neri School in Metairie. Hill holds a bachelor’s degree in history from the University of New Orleans and a master’s degree in educational leadership from LSU-Shreveport.

The graduate of Holy Cross School taught social studies and Latin to middle school students at St. Catherine and served as the social studies department chair. As an administrator, he was the school disciplinarian. Additionally, he designed schedules, implemented the school’s 1:1 technology program, maintained the school’s database and supervised arrival and dismissal procedures.

He also oversaw the middle school program at St. Catherine and mentored teachers in that program. From 2001-05, Hill taught at Visitation of Our Lady School in Marrero.

“Having attended K-12 at Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of New Orleans, I was able to experience, first-hand, the vital role of Catholic education,” Hill said. “As a student, teacher and administrator, I have grown to understand and cherish the mission of Catholic schools – to educate the ‘young church’ in body, mind and spirit. I feel called to be a principal because of my strong desire to be a true servant leader. I wish to give back to the community of Catholic schools in this archdiocese, as they had such a major impact in my formation.

“I am humbled by the opportunity to be part of the St. Philip Neri community, which is so vibrant and so passionate about its school. I am excited to work with the faculty of SPN. They are dedicated to the school and its mission, while seeing each student as an individual.

“I take my philosophy of education from Blessed Basil Moreau, founder of the Congregation of Holy Cross, who wrote in 1849: ‘…the mind will not be cultivated at the expense of the heart. While we prepare useful citizens for society, we shall likewise do our utmost to prepare citizens for heaven.’”


Deacon Lawrence Houston has been named the new principal of St. Joan of Arc School in New Orleans.

Deacon Houston was educated in the Catholic school system in St. Louis, Missouri. He attended Xavier University of Louisiana, graduating with with a bachelor of music degree in vocal performance. He also earned a master of arts in elementary education with a concentration in elementary principalship from Xavier.

Deacon Houston is married to Erica M. Nealy, and they have two children, Kyle Wesley and Kayla J’Net.

Deacon Houston first began teaching at St. Peter Claver School in 1990, then moved to St. Monica School for six years. He returned to St. Peter Claver, where he also  served as a homeroom teacher for students in fifth,  seventh and eighth grades.

He was a middle school  math and technology teacher/coordinator, vice principal for 15 years and principal for three years until the closure of the school in May.

Deacon Houston served in the United States Air Force Reserves for 20 years, retiring with the rank of master sergeant. He worked in the Logistics Support Squadron at the 926th Fighter Wing during Desert Storm and Desert Shield.

He rose through the ranks to become the chief of vehicle operations until the unit was shut down after Hurricane Katrina.

Deacon Houston moved to the 403rd Fighter Wing at Keesler Air Force Base, where he retired in 2009.

He was ordained by Archbishop Gregory Aymond to the permanent diaconate on Dec. 11, 2010, at St. Louis Cathedral. Archbishop Aymond called his class the “Class of Hope and Perseverance!” He is currently assigned to St. Peter Claver Church in New Orleans.

His favorite quote is: “Education is a choice, so choose wisely!”


Romaine McCarthy has been appointed school leader of St. Michael Special School. She is a graduate of Xavier Preparatory School in New Orleans and holds a bachelor of science degree in deaf education from the University of Southern Mississippi and a master’s degree in educational administration from Louisiana State University.

“I feel so honored to become part of the St. Michael Special School family,” McCarthy said. “Its reputation for providing an excellent education grounded in the Catholic faith allows its students to flourish. Building upon the expertise and experience of its faculty, my goal is to create a climate of maximizing potential, but more importantly, to keep in mind that we are all created in the image of God, yet each uniquely made.

“What a blessing to have so many opportunities to see and know him! I look forward to bringing together teachers and staff, parents, friends and community in recognizing the true gift that God has given us, our precious children.”



Jennifer (Jenny) Poulos has been named principal of St. Joan of Arc School in LaPlace. She earned her bachelor of science degree in early childhood education from Georgia State University in Atlanta. In 2016, she received a master’s degree in educational leadership from the University of Holy Cross in New Orleans.

Poulos began her career teaching in St. Charles Parish public schools in the early 1990s. She was called to the ministry of Catholic education when her children began attending St. Charles Borromeo in Destrehan.

She taught first grade at St. Charles Borromeo for six years before moving in 2009 to Colorado, where she taught English, language arts and religion at St. Louis School in Englewood. Poulos returned to St. Charles Borromeo in 2011 as a second-grade and physical education teacher.

In 2017, she served as student support service coordinator and second-grade teacher at Our Lady of Lourdes School in Slidell. She was named assistant principal of Our Lady of Lourdes in July 2018. In that position, she assisted teachers, students and families with their educational and behavioral concerns.

Poulos was part of a team that established a new early childhood development center serving children, ages 6 weeks to 3 years old. She has worked diligently to establish strong, faith-filled relationships with students, families, teachers, administration and parish community members at each school.

“I am excited, honored and humbled to accept the position as principal and spiritual leader of St. Joan of Arc Catholic School,” she said. “I look forward to getting to know the faith community and working with Father Pat (Collum) and the dedicated staff of SJA to foster the spiritual and educational development of each student.”


Dr. Jewel Reuter has been named assistant head of school of Stuart Hall School for Boys. She has more than 30 years of Catholic and independent school experience, having served at Jesuit High School as both a teacher and science department chair. She received the Presidential Award of Excellence in Science Teaching while at Archbishop Rummel High School and worked for the Archdiocese of New Orleans’ Office of Catholic Schools as a K-12 professional development consultant.

As an administrator, Reuter has served at the Episcopal School of Baton Rouge as associate head of school for institutional research, innovative learning and strategic relations for four years and as dean of curriculum and instruction for four years. In those roles, she worked directly with students in grades pre-K3 through 12.

“My goal is to support the mission of the Stuart Hall School for Boys with my Catholic faith, administrative experience and knowledge of educational strategies,” Reuter said.



Patti Waddell, who has served for more than 30 years in education and has a rich background in early childhood education and school improvement, is the new principal of St. Anthony School in Gretna. Waddell worked for 23 1/2 years in the public school system and for seven years in Catholic education.

She served as principal at Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Kenner from 2016-18, and last year was assistant principal of St. Anthony School.

“I am excited about the opportunity to serve as the school’s spiritual and academic leader,” Waddell said. “I am looking forward to working with St. Anthony School’s families, teachers, staff and parish community as well as utilizing my previous leadership experience and school improvement training to continue to transform our school into one of excellence.”

In her work in Jefferson Parish public schools, Waddell served as instructional strategist for the prekindergarten program for several years before being promoted to the pre-K coordinator position, responsible for writing, obtaining and managing grants, doubling the size of the district’s pre-K program and supervising the pre-K staff. During this period, Waddell also was an adjunct early childhood instructor at Delgado Community College.

Waddell retired from the Jefferson Parish School System in June 2012. She began teaching pre-kindergarten at Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Kenner in 2012 and was promoted two years later to assistant principal and curriculum coordinator.

Waddell earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from UNO, a master’s of science degree in counseling from Loyola University and a “Master’s +30” teaching certificate from Southeastern Louisiana University, gaining certification in educational leadership. In 2011, she completed the Louisiana School Turnaround Specialist Program at Xavier University of Louisiana, an invitation-only continuing education opportunity.

“This program focused on improving my leadership skills in the area of school improvement and provided tools to assist me in raising the school’s annual test scores,” Waddell said.



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