One of the biggest changes any school can make is in leadership. This year, 10 schools in the Diocese of Charleston hired new principals. As the 2015-2016 academic year rolls to a start, here are the new faces greeting children, parents and staff.
Administrators must have or be actively pursuing a master’s degree plus five years of teaching experience.
Kathy Murphy made the move from Stony Point, N.Y., where she served as principal of Christ the Teacher in Fort Lee, N.J. In her 32 years in education, Murphy has served as principal of three schools. She has also taught middle school science, religion, social studies, and language arts.
Walter Dupre, comes from O’Neill, Neb., where he spent the past six years as principal of St. Mary’s.
He has 26 total years in the education field, with experience in Catholic and public schools as a vice principal, assistant athletic director, teacher and coach.
Bridgette Kayea is already a familiar face to staff and parents. Her three children attend Our Lady of Peace and she is actively involved in the school and church. Kayea is originally from northern New York and has lived in North Augusta for 10 years. She has taught English for 20 years, most recently at Riverside Middle.
Debbie Wilfong is another new principal chosen from amongst the school community. All four of her children attended St. Andrew, and she has taught kindergarten there for 10 years. She has also taught middle school language arts, social studies and reading. Wilfong is an active member of St. Andrew Church, where she serves as a lector.
Tracy Hamner made the move to St. Anthony from Richmond, Va., where he served as assistant principal at St. Edward- Epiphany School for the past two years. Hamner has worked in the education field for 11 years, including four as a basketball coach at West Virginia University and the University of Michigan.
Sally Barker moved from Winston- Salem, N.C., where she was an assistant principal and computer teacher at St. Leo Parish School for 12 years. She has 23 years of service in education, and has earned an international teaching award and helped start a Catholic school in Alpharetta, Ga. Barker said her move puts her closer to her grown daughters in Atlanta, and a son in college.
Raymond Reinsant has served as vice principal and taught at St. Francis for three years, providing instruction in English, religion, and music appreciation. Prior to that, he served as the headmaster at Union Academy in Monroe, N.C., for three years, and has served in leadership roles in schools along the East Coast and in England. Reinsant will continue to teach religion at St. Francis.
Pamela Walters comes from Baltimore, Md., with 15 years of experience. She has spent the past 10 years as principal of St. Clement Mary Hofbauer School in Baltimore. Before that, she served as a teacher and principal at Sacred Heart of Mary, also in Baltimore.
Bill Gabrielson and Ann Feltner will take the helm as interim co-principals.
This is Gabrielson’s third stint as principal of St. Peter. He also served from 1996 to 2001 and in 2007-2008. In his 52 years in education, he has been a teacher or administrator from middle school through college.
Feltner has been part of St. Peter since 1996, wearing many hats along the way. Most recently, she taught middle school language arts and served as vice principal. Feltner has also participated as a parent, school board member, substitute teacher, and instructional aide.
Prior to her new role at Summerville Catholic, Amy Trautman spent the past two years teaching religion at Christ Our King-Stella Maris in Mount Pleasant. She moved to the Charleston area from Virginia, where she was a teacher and administrator. Trautman has been involved in education for almost 20 years, including positions as principal and assistant principal at schools in the Archdiocese of Washington.