Nine new principals will ring in the fall semester at Catholic schools

Schools in the Diocese of Charleston have selected their new principals for the upcoming academic year.

John Paul II Catholic School in Ridgeland announced the selection of Walter Dupre as its new principal for the 2015-16 school year. For the past six years, he was principal of St. Mary’s in O’Neill, Nebraska, and has 26 years total in education. Dupre will take over from Sister Pamela Smith, of the Sisters of Sts. Cyril and Methodius, who took the helm of JPII at the request of Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone and has served for 15 months. She will resume full-time duties as the diocesan Secretary of Education and Faith Formation.

Our Lady of Peace in North Augusta hired Bridgette Kayea to replace Stephen Hickey, who accepted a position as athletic director at Aquinas High School. Kayea has been teaching language arts at Riverside Middle School and has a master’s degree and a specialist degree in leadership. She is a member of Our Lady of Peace Church and has been actively involved in the parish school, which her children also attend.

St. Andrew in Myrtle Beach tapped Debbie Wilfong, who is a familiar face at the school. She will take over for Molly Halasz, who retired. Wilfong has taught kindergarten at the school for 10 years and all of her children attended there. She has a master’s in Catholic school leadership.

St. Anthony of Padua in Greenville selected Sally Barker to take the reins from Franciscan Sister Catherine Noecker, who recently retired. Barker comes from St. Leo Parish Catholic School in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, where she served as a computer teacher and assistant principal. She has a master’s in education administration.

St. Peter in Beaufort paired Ann Feltner and Bill Gabrielson as interim co-principals for the 2015-16 school year.

Gabrielson has served at St. Peter in the past, both as principal and interim principal. Feltner is currently a teacher at the school.

Summerville Catholic hired Amy Trautman as its new principal. She has taught at Christ Our King-Stella Maris School in Mount Pleasant for the past two years. Prior to that, she served for six years as principal and assistant principal for schools in the Archdiocese of Washington. Trautman replaces Lisa Tanner, who retired.

St. Francis Xavier High School in Sumter announced that Ryan Reinsant will replace Susan Lavergne, who is semi-retiring but will remain as a volunteer guidance counselor. Reinsant taught religion, English and music appreciation at St. Francis. Before coming to Sumter, he served in leadership roles at schools on the East Coast and in England, including Superintendent of School for the Brothers of the Sacred Heart of the New England Province. Reinsant will continue to teach religion at St. Francis.

Blessed Sacrament in Charleston brought Katharine Murphy on board as new principal. She has 31 years of experience in Catholic education as a teacher and an administrator.

St. Anthony in Florence recently announced the selection of Tracy Hamner from Richmond, Virginia.

The Miscellany will provide more information and photos on all the principals in its back-to-school issue.


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Photo: St. Peter in Beaufort is one of the schools in the Diocese of Charleston welcoming new principals for the 2015-2016 school year. Photo provided from