New presidents, principals named for Catholic schools

New presidents and principals have been named for the 2014-2015 school year at some Catholic elementary and high schools.


Sean Goodwin (‘95), acting principal, St. Augustine High School, New Orleans, served as assistant principal last year. He succeeds John Charles Jr. (’71), who served as principal for the 2013-14 academic year.

“Mr. Goodwin has been an excellent administrator, and we asked him to be the acting principal in an effort to ensure a smooth transition and to keep the school moving forward so we can stay on target to meet our goals for the upcoming school year,” said Oyd Craddock (’76), St. Augustine’s president.

Goodwin is certified in administration and teaching, with six years of experience in the classroom and seven years in multiple roles as principal and assistant principal. Goodwin has a bachelor’s degree in liberal studies from Lemoyne-Owen College in Memphis, Tennessee, and a master’s degree in educational administration from Xavier University of Louisiana.

“I’m excited to have this opportunity to be of service to the students, parents and teachers of St. Augustine,” Goodwin said. “As long as we put the students first and bring the necessary resources to them in the classroom, we will get the results we need to ensure the success of this school for generations to come.”

Religious of the Sacred Heart Sister Melanie A. Guste, headmistress, Academy of the Sacred Heart, New Orleans, is a member of the Society of the Sacred Heart-United States-Canada Province. She most recently served as the director of planning for the United States-Canada Province and as the provincial team liaison for the Sacred Heart Commission on Goals (SHCOG), the primary vehicle for accountability to mission within the 21 schools of the Network of Sacred Heart Schools in the U.S. and Canada.

Prior to this service, Sister Guste served as a member of the provincial team of the Society of the Sacred Heart for three years. Specializing in human and organizational systems, Sister Guste has been extensively involved in educational and organizational system level initiatives at the local, state and national levels. She has served at schools of the Sacred Heart in both Grand Coteau and San Francisco.

Sister Guste currently serves on the board of trustees for Stone Ridge Country Day School of the Sacred Heart. A native of New Orleans, she attended the Rosary from pre-kindergarten through 12th grade.

Sister Guste has earned several degrees, including a master’s in educational administration from Loyola University and a master’s in applied spirituality from the University of San Francisco. She completed her doctorate in human and organizational systems from Fielding Graduate University in Santa Barbara, California.

“I am blessed to have been selected to serve the Rosary at this time as its headmistress,” she said. “We are looking forward to a year of active growth and partnership in our tradition of academic excellence, which has been supported for so many years by a deep faith, mission focus and a strong sense of community at the Rosary.”

Jesuit Father Anthony McGinn, interim president, Jesuit High School, New Orleans, served 19 years as president of Jesuit High School (1992-2011). He recently returned to New Orleans to serve as interim president of the school for the 2014-15 academic year. Jesuit’s board of directors is conducting a search for the next president, a move necessitated after Jesuit Father Raymond Fitzgerald, who succeeded Father McGinn three years ago, became seriously ill earlier this year and had to step down at the end of the 2013-14 school year.

Father McGinn has served as a teacher and an administrator at Jesuit high schools in New Orleans and in Tampa, Florida. For the past three years, he worked in St. Louis as the provincial’s assistant for secondary education.

Father McGinn graduated in 1966 from Jesuit High School and entered the Jesuits in 1967. He was ordained a priest in 1979. He holds a bachelor’s degree from St. Louis University and master’s degrees from the University of Texas at Austin and the University of San Francisco. He completed his theological studies at the University of London.

“I am grateful for this opportunity to return to the partnership of teachers and parents in the work of forming young men in faith and character at Jesuit High School,” Father McGinn said.
Father Fitzgerald said he was extremely grateful for the opportunity, albeit brief, to have served as Jesuit’s president for the previous three years.

“It is a blessing to have worked with so many talented and good students, teachers and staff,” Father Fitzgerald said. “I am also grateful to Father McGinn for his willingness to return and serve as president during the 2014-15 academic year while Jesuit’s Board of Directors continues its search for the school’s next president.”

Father Fitzgerald will remain in residence at Jesuit High School and serve as special assistant to the president. He will also work in the campus ministry office assisting with the school’s spiritual development and formation programs.

Myles Seghers, Ph.D., principal, De La Salle High School, New Orleans, has a long and distinguished career in Catholic education in New Orleans. After serving as an administrator at Archbishop Rummel High School for more than 20 years, he was associate superintendent for archdiocesan Catholic schools for 10 years.

Upon completion of his doctoral program, Seghers served at Our Lady of Holy Cross College as dean of the school of education and later as interim president. During that tenure, he published extensively about teacher development and became a nationally recognized presenter on ways to improve teacher performance, which is one of his major goals for De La Salle.

“One of my main focuses will be to take a complete analysis of the school’s instructional program so that we can find ways to improve upon our curriculum, assessment methods and instruction techniques,” Seghers said. “De La Salle has many strengths to build upon, but there are always opportunities for improvement. You have to be completely open to looking to continuously improve, particularly in today’s ever-changing world.”

Seghers entered De La Salle in 1963 as a sophomore. He was involved in the school’s wrestling team, talent shows and the student council.

“This really feels like I’m returning home,” Seghers said. “I think there is a wonderful feeling of Lasallian spirit that’s been instituted here; you can feel it when you walk around the campus. The school is very values-centric in its approach to learning. I think there are a lot of great things taking place at De La Salle, and I look forward to being an integral part of the school’s continued growth.”

Peggy St. John, who served as the school’s principal for the past three years, will return to teaching. She has a 32-year career with De La Salle as a math teacher, club moderator, dean of academics and academic assistant principal.


Paige Bennett, principal, St. Angela Merici School, Metairie, served for the previous three years as assistant principal of curriculum and instruction at St. Margaret Mary School in Slidell. She chaired the SACS accreditation committee, successfully began a school-wide service program and implemented a plan to improve academic performance and increase differentiated instruction into the pre-K through eighth-grade classrooms. During her tenure, St. Margaret Mary added a pre-K3 program with an emphasis on hands-on learning in a Christ-centered environment.

Bennett received her bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Louisiana State University. She served as a catechist in college and continued teaching through the parish school of religion until becoming a fulltime teacher at Mary Queen of Peace School in Mandeville. She has taught religious education for more than 25 years.

Her work in early childhood education and the primary grades at Mary Queen of Peace ignited a passion for curriculum and instruction. In 2011, she received a master of education degree in curriculum and instruction with an emphasis in reading.

She has continued to focus on literacy in the classroom and has completed research on Science as Inquiry, Science Journals in the Elementary Classroom and Accelerated Reader. She made a presentation on “Integration of Literacy and Trade Books in Today’s Classroom” at Southeastern Louisiana University.

“As a Catholic administrator, I have the opportunity to help children realize and fulfill God’s mission for their lives in partnership with children’s primary religion teachers, their parents,” Bennett said. “Catholic education provides the unique ability to provide strong academics combined with the message of Jesus Christ and a commitment to Christian service. These three aspects of learning set a foundation for students to grow as lifelong learners and further their mission as witnesses of Christ in our world.”

Michael Buras II, principal, St. Agnes School, Jefferson, started his teaching career in 2001 as a history teacher at Crescent City Baptist High School. From 2002-05, he taught middle school social studies at his alma mater, St. Edward the Confessor School. From 2005-14, Buras was the lead history teacher, soccer coach and an administrator at De La Salle High School. He served as academic assistant principal at De La Salle for the past three years.

“My goal is to ensure the spiritual growth and academic excellence of all my students by nurturing their greatest strengths to bring out their full potential,” Buras said. “I plan to provide my instructors with valuable training, resources and continuous feedback to accomplish this goal. I would like to build and maintain a strong school community through the coordination of efforts among our Parents’ Club, Men’s Club and School Board. I look forward to working with an experienced and well-rounded faculty that cares about the welfare and interest of each student entrusted to our care.”

Patience Mackie Clasen, principal, St. Andrew the Apostle School, New Orleans, has more than nine years of experience teaching, coaching teachers and writing curriculum in public and private schools. She received her bachelor’s degree in elementary education and master’s degree in educational leadership from Our Lady of Holy Cross College.

Clasen has served as the curriculum coordinator at St. Andrew the Apostle for the past two years. During her time, she led the school in receiving their SACS re-accreditation and Blue Ribbon Lighthouse distinction.

“As principal, I plan to continue to uphold our vision and mission to strive for excellence in spirit, mind and body,” she said.

Throughout Clasen’s educational journey, she has been a strong support for teachers by serving as a mentor and master teacher, math coach, curriculum coordinator and testing coordinator. She led teachers in building a positive school culture, while establishing and implementing strong curriculum for all learners.

“As a parent, parishioner, community member and principal, I am dedicated to St. Andrew the Apostle and invested in the successful future of our school,” Clasen said.

Jessica A. Dwyer, principal, Holy Name of Jesus School, New Orleans, began her career in education in the Memphis, Tennessee, school system as a fourth-grade teacher for three years and a second-grade teacher for one year. She earned a master of education in curriculum and instruction from Bethel University in McKenzie, Tennessee.

She returned home to New Orleans to join the faculty of Stuart Hall School for Boys for eight years, where she taught fourth grade, coached soccer and was lower school division leader. She earned a second master’s degree in educational leadership and started working on her doctorate in educational administration at the University of New Orleans. She also was accepted as a fellow of the School Leadership Center of Greater New Orleans. educational leadership and started working on her doctorate in educational administration at the University of New Orleans. She also was accepted as a fellow of the School Leadership Center of Greater New Orleans.

Dwyer has presented at several conferences on the topic of fostering a love of reading in boys. She was curriculum coordinator for the previous two years at Our Lady of the Lake School in Mandeville. She is entering her 15th year in education.

“I am extremely excited and honored to be a part of an outstanding school with a rich history of educational excellence and tradition in our city,” Dwyer said. “While being keenly aware of the duty we are charged with to prepare students for the 21st century world, I will use my understanding of school leadership and curriculum and instruction to propel Holy Name of Jesus to another level of greatness.”

Salesian Sister Lou Ann Fantauzza, principal, Immaculate Conception School, Marrero, succeeds Salesian Sister Helene Godin as the head of the school’s administrative team. Sister Lou Ann has been an effective administrator in the Diocese of Paterson (New Jersey) and the Archdiocese of St. Petersburg (Florida). She comes to Immaculate Conception with a great amount of experience and knowledge. She holds a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a master’s degree in administration and supervision from William Paterson University.

“Sister Lou Ann brings her unique gifts of insight, educational creativity and imagination to the entire school family of Immaculate Conception School,” said Sister Antoinette Cedrone, secretary for the Eastern Province of the Salesian Sisters of St. John Bosco.

Michael Giambelluca, principal, Christ the King School, Terrytown, a veteran high school administrator, served last year as president of Creighton Prep, a Jesuit high school in Omaha, Nebraska. He succeeds Cynthia Ruel.

A native of Algiers, Giambelluca graduated from Jesuit High School and earned a bachelor’s degree from Tulane University with a double major in Latin and philosophy. After teaching and coaching football at Brother Martin High School, Giambelluca attended Tulane Law School and earned his law degree in 1990. He practiced law for a few years before teaching Latin and serving as athletic director of St. Martin’s Episcopal School in Metairie.

He spent one year as dean of students at the Jefferson Community School in Jefferson before being named principal of Jesuit 2001-13. He served for one year as president of Creighton Prep in Omaha, Nebraska.

“I am extremely excited to be the next principal at Christ the King,” Giambelluca said. “We hope to create an educational environment in which our students can flourish, an educational environment in which our students’ talents are identified and nurtured. To create a fully functioning school that truly can be viewed as our gift to a loving God, we must all work together. Thus, I am excited to be able to work with Father Mike (Nam Hoang Nguyen), with our faculty and staff, with our parents, and with our many CTK friends to create that educational environment.”

Jeffrey M. Montz, principal, St. Joan of Arc School, LaPlace, is a native of LaPlace, a lifelong parishioner of St. Joan of Arc Church and a 1973 graduate of St. Joan of Arc School. He is married to Celeste Montz and has two children, Megan (25) and Christian (12). His educational experience consists of 29 years as a teacher and administrator. He was assistant principal of academic affairs and dean of students at St. Charles Catholic High School.

Montz taught American history, world history, economics, business and financial math, accounting, physical education, keyboarding/computer applications, Algebra I-Part 1 and religion. Montz also coached several sports on both the high school and elementary school levels.

Montz earned his B.A. from Southeastern Louisiana University and his master’s in pastoral studies at Loyola University New Orleans. In addition to his experience in the field of education, Montz also has held positions in the banking and petro-chemical fields.

“I am humbled by the decision of the principal search committee to offer me this wonderful opportunity,” Montz said. “Their expression of confidence gives me much encouragement as we work toward continued excellence at our school. As the principal of St. Joan of Arc, I will strive to lead a competent and caring faculty who sets high standards of performance for students in a positive, motivating and supporting manner. Faith development will continue to be a top priority at St. Joan of Arc with the hope that students walk away with confidence, determination and an appreciation for their faith as the foundation of their academic accomplishments.”

Roselyn K. Tindall, principal, St. Clement of Rome School, Metairie, is a native of Pittsburgh and served for the last seven years as principal of St. Joseph Catholic School, a kindergarten through sixth-grade school in Columbia, South Carolina.

Tindall moved to South Carolina in 1992 and served in the Diocese of Charleston for 22 years.

Tindall succeeds Chad Howat as St. Clement of Rome principal.

“I’ve loved my time in New Orleans so far,” Tindall said. “I find it to be a blend of the predominantly Catholic big city (like Pittsburgh), with the heat and southern charm of South Carolina.

“My hope for this year can be summed up like this: ‘The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.’”

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