Browsing The Northern Cross

President search underway for new unified school

The Northern Cross

The search for the first president of the newly unified school, Stella Maris Academy, is accepting applications. A faith-filled and Christ-centered Catholic leader is being sought to serve the students, families, faculty, and community as the 125 year history of Catholic education in Duluth enters a new era.

In this new position, the president will oversee the school principals and direct the development, admissions, and finance offices in addition to facility and operations. He or she will collaborate with the diocese’s director of schools. The new president will work with external constituencies and engage in advancement efforts to promote the school while fostering relationships with alumni. He or she will also serve as the chief executive officer of the school.

This transition is an important and challenging time for Catholic education in Duluth. The new school has abundant resources in the talent and dedication of teachers and staff from the current schools, vibrant traditions, and a long history in each of the three locations. Bishop Paul Sirba and the community are committed to the success of this new entity. As with many Catholic schools across the nation, the new school confronts the task of sustaining and growing enrollment, implementing contemporary curriculum and co-curricular learning experiences, keeping tuition affordable, and providing tuition assistance.

Other staffing moves

The following members of the current Catholic schools have accepted positions for the 2017-18 school year. Each of them is excited to continue to serve the community, and all are engaged and energized to make this key transition to guide the new Stella Maris Academy this fall. The principals and learning specialist will be part of the leadership team guided by the school president.

Peggy Frederickson will serve as principal of the Holy Rosary Campus. Frederickson earned her bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a minor in early childhood from St. Cloud State University. She has also completed her master’s degree in education and curriculum from the College of St. Scholastica in Duluth. She is licensed to teach preschool through grade 6. In 1994, she moved to Duluth and started her career teaching at St. Rose School in Proctor. After teaching for two years she accepted the principal position at St. Rose. In 2000, she transitioned to St. John’s School as the first-grade teacher. After one year of teaching, she accepted the position of principal at St. John’s. Frederickson’s two daughters attended St. John’s School and continued on to Holy Rosary for middle school.

”I gladly accept the position of principal at the Holy Rosary Campus, and I am excited to see the transformation, as we truly become one school,” she said. “I am glad to be part of this great challenge and look forward to continuing to provide quality Catholic education to all those who desire it. There is no better place to educate children than a Catholic school, and I look forward to getting to know your children.”

Julianne Blazevic will serve as principal of the St. James Campus. Blazevic completed her bachelor’s degree in elementary education at the College of St. Scholastica, Duluth, in 1998. While teaching, she completed her master’s degree in education at the College of St. Catherine, St. Paul, in 2003. Blazevic taught for 15 years at St. Michael’s Lakeside School in Duluth until 2013. She served as principal of St. James Catholic School beginning in 2013. While working in the Catholic schools, she has devoted her time and talents to care and to serve the many families of the schools. Blazevic’s two children currently attend Catholic schools in Duluth.

”I look forward to continuing my position at the St. James Campus, because I believe quality faith-filled Catholic education is important and we need to continue to strive for high standards,” she said. “I am committed to sharing my time and talent with the newly created school with multiple campuses in Duluth to ensure that quality Catholic education is accessible to all children now and into the future.”

Jesse Murray will be principal of the St. John’s Campus. Murray completed his bachelor’s degree in biological research from St. Mary’s University in Winona in 1998. He taught at Cathedral High School in Los Angeles and assisted in the start-up of a Catholic middle school in Browning, Mont. He completed middle and high school teaching licenses, with an emphasis in biological sciences, then earned his masters of arts in instruction from St. Mary’s University. He returned to California to teach at St. Francis High School with the Brothers of the Holy Cross before being hired as the first lay principal of Holy Rosary School in 2006. Murray’s three children attend Holy Rosary, where his wife teaches as well.

”I am excited to work with the 5-8th grade teachers from all of our schools to develop and provide the best middle school programming to our students and families,” he said. “I look forward to a new site with more space and a facility that can be geared more specifically to the middle school level. I hear the teachers’, students’ and families’ desire to stay connected to all of our students at all levels. Our new leadership team shares that desire.”

Angela Mejdrich will serve as learning specialist for the new unified school. Mejdrich has two baccalaureate degrees: one in political science from the College of St. Benedict and one in child studies from Charter Oak State College. She has her Master’s Degree in Education, focusing on special education, from Augsburg College, and wrote her thesis on the inclusion of students with disabilities in Catholic schools in the Pacific Northwest. Based upon the data she gathered from her research, she wrote a white paper suggesting changes to policies and procedures that she presented to the Diversified Learners Committee of the Archdiocese of Seattle. She has been in education for 19 years and has worked with students with a variety of needs. Mejdrich is currently the vice principal at St. Michael’s Lakeside School. “I am excited about my new role and the opportunity to put my research into practice,” she said. “I look forward to supporting students across all grade-levels. Inclusive education in Catholic schools is my passion, and I eagerly anticipate the possibilities that this new role brings to our Duluth Catholic School.”

Teacher placement

Annually schools undergo the placement of faculty and staff in preparation for the new school year. This year is slightly different as the campuses transition for the new Stella Maris Academy. In this transition, it has remained a priority to retain current teachers, administrators, and support staff who have brought Catholic education to area families. The teacher placement process began with offering current teachers an opportunity to commit to next year’s ministry. The next phase will involve placing teachers based on their response, credentials, and interest while matching program needs.

“It is our desire to offer meaningful placement to teachers based upon their response and wish to stay with Stella Maris Academy,” said Cynthia Zook, Director of Catholic Schools for the Diocese of Duluth. “We hope to share the roster of teachers for each campus later this spring. The complete roster and assignments will be included in the summer packet mailed to all parents.”

Registration is open

Registration is now open for current and new families at Stella Maris Academy. Current families register through their school’s current student information system. New families and new students of current families submit the new student application form found at www.duluthareacatholicschools.org. Pre-Kindergarten through grade 8 will be offered at the St. James campus. The Holy Rosary campus will offer pre-k through grade 4, and the St. John’s campus will provide middle school instruction to grades 5-8. For more information or to set up a campus tour, contact the campuses directly.