Meet your new Catholic principals

Kathy Preston, St. Peter School, Columbia

Five new principals were named for Catholic schools in the Diocese of Charleston: Kathy Preston for St. Peter in Columbia; Miriam Jones for St. Michael in Garden City; Anthony Perrini for St. Anne in Rock Hill; Dominican Sister Mary John Slonkoski for St. Mary in Greenville; and Collette Ott for the new Holy Trinity School in Longs.

Kathy Preston, St. Peter School, Columbia

St. Peter, Columbia
At St. Peter School in Columbia, Kathy Preston was chosen to fill the top spot. Preston said she grew up in Washington, D.C., where she attended Catholic schools. She received her bachelor’s in education from the University of South Carolina and has lived in Columbia for the past 17 years. She taught at St. Joseph for 11 years before returning to school to earn her master’s in education from Marymount University in Virginia. Preston said she interned with Barbara Cole at St. John Neumann and Sister Roberta Fulton at St. Martin de Porres. She also volunteered at Cardinal Newman where her four children were students. Now, she is excited to be part of St. Peter. “St. Peter’s has this wonderful history. I really want to continue that history and strengthen it,” she said.

Miriam Jones, St. Michael School, Garden City

St. Michael, Garden City
Miriam Jones took over as principal at St. Michael School in Garden City. She was born in Fairbanks, Alaska, but grew up in Charleston. Jones said she graduated from the College of Charleston with a bachelor’s in elementary education, and received an education specialist degree in leadership from the University of Mississippi. She taught in public schools in Charleston, and then when she moved to Mississippi she was hired at St. Alphonsus Catholic School, where she has served as principal for the past five years. When her husband retired, she said they decided to buy a home on the Atlantic coast, which led her to the Garden City post. “St. Michael’s has been very welcoming. I’m feeling very fortunate to be stepping into such a wonderful school,” Jones said.

Anthony Perrini, St. Anne School, Rock Hill

St. Anne, Rock Hill
Anthony Perrini was hired as the new principal at St. Anne School in Rock Hill. His family emigrated from Sannicandro de Bari on the Adriatic Coast of Italy and settled in the Michigan area when he was young. He earned his undergraduate degree in mathematics at Michigan Technical College, where they received up to 225 inches of snow each year, he said. Perrini received a master’s degree in human resources from Goddard College in Vermont and has served as a teacher and administrator in Michigan and Arizona, including a post at a boarding school for troubled girls. He said he and his wife Kathleen have always wanted to move to a warmer climate for eventual retirement. “I feel very fortunate, very blessed to be here,” he said. “We really enjoy the area. St. Anne is a very good school.”

Sister Mary John Slonkoski, St. Mary School, Greenville

St. Mary, Greenville
Dominican Sister Mary John Slonkoski will lead St. Mary School in Greenville. She is a native of Minster, Ohio, and entered the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia in Nashville, Tenn., in 1989. She has a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in speech pathology and audiology from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio; a master’s in theology from the University of Notre Dame; a master’s in elementary education from Middle Tennessee State University; and a master’s in elementary school administration from Northwestern State University in Louisiana. Sister Mary John has served as a teacher and principal in several states and arrived at St. Mary in July. “The school has a great staff and is a very welcoming community,” she said. “Everyone involved with the school has a great dedication to both academic excellence and achievement, and the Catholic faith.” 

Colette Ott, Holy Trinity School, Longs

Holy Trinity, Longs
Holy Trinity, the new school in Longs, hired Colette Ott as principal. She has an undergraduate degree from Ferris State University in Michigan and a master’s in education leadership from Nova Southeastern University in Florida. Ott said she grew up in South Haven, along the shores of Lake Michigan. She described it as a touristy beach town very similar to Myrtle Beach and said she feels right at home in her new locale. She has spent the past 30 years in Fort Meyers, Fla., where she served as a teacher and administrator. Ott said she held positions in both public and Catholic schools and has run the gamut from elementary to high school and college. She moved to South Carolina with the intention of fulfilling a dream. “I have always wanted to open a brand new school,” she said.