As we say “Farewell” to Kenn Hitchcock, we greet his replacement, our new Principal, Ms. Shawnda Shaughnessy. I am so totally grateful to a wonderful Search Committee that worked in unison with the Oﬃce of Schools of the Diocese of Orlando to receive and review applicants, and then conduct interviews and make a recommendation of the finalist to Bishop Noonan.
Ms. Shaughnessy has just now concluded her time on the teaching staﬀ at St. Brendan Catholic School in Ormond Beach. At St. Brendan School she has served as Assistant Principal, teacher and Athletic Coach. Prior to that, sheserved for 12 years at the Basilica School of St. Paul in Daytona Beach, another school in the Diocese of Orlando. There she fulfilled responsibilities in teaching and administration.
A graduate of the University of Central Florida with a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education Ms. Shaughnessy also holds a Master’s degree from Stetson University in Educational Leadership. In 2013 she was Teacher of the Year at the Basilica School of St. Paul and is also a graduate of the Master Teacher Program oﬀered through the Oﬃce of Schools of the Diocese of Orlando. If there was a consistent comment to be heard from reference to reference, from parish to parish, from school to school and whoever else who knows her it was: “She is a breath of fresh air; she is energy personified; she is never without a smile.”
For the past 14+ years Shawnda has been driven to prepare herself for a ministry in administrative leadership in a Catholic school. She has been focused, setting her sights on the chance to be a principal. While she has served as an assistant principal in her previous school settings, Our Saviour School will be her first moment of immersion in being a principal. I find that very exciting. She does not arrive with the “mantra”: “Been there, done that.” That has to be exciting for our teachers and parents – a time to grow up and into being a Catholic school together as if on a level playing field. “There is a time for everything…” we read in the Book of Ecclesiastes in the Old Testament. And nowthere is “this time” for our school, our mission of formation of youth and families, which builds on a rich history here in our parish, reaching back through Kenn’s tenure all the way to the Sisters of Mercy. Those will be touchstones of grace for Shawnda to access as she works with us all charting our way forward.
Once Bishop Noonan approved her for the position I called Shawnda’s Pastor, Fr. Tom Barrett whom I have known for years, at St. Brendan Parish in Ormond Beach…and went to confession: “Bless me, Father, for I have sinned. I have just stolen one of your teachers.” He was sort of not happy, but understood that given how good she is he could not expect to hold on to her indefinitely. I am still waiting to hear what my penance will be.
Shawnda begins her ministry among us this weekend, July 1, 2017. I will be presenting her to the parish community at all masses on July 15/16; I am also planning to host an “Ice Cream Social” (good summer time food) in her honor sothat she can meet our parents and their children on Sunday afternoon, July 16, 4 p.m. in the Parish Center (alongside of the Gym)..