Dear Nazareth Academy High School Family Members,
On behalf of Nazareth Academy High School and the Board of Trustees, I am pleased to announce the appointment of Mr. James Meredith as the first lay principal of Nazareth Academy High School. It has been a very exciting time for growth and advancement at Nazareth. Last year Nazareth implemented the President-Principal organizational model naming its first president. Sister Marcella Louise Wallowicz, CSFN '73, vice chair, shared, "While some may grieve that there is no longer a CSFN principal, appointing a lay principal celebrates the vision of our Foundress in inviting lay people to collaborate with us in the leadership and mission of our institutions. The Good News of Nazareth was not meant for us to keep to ourselves but to share it with others. Our new leadership team has the vision and skills needed to expertly guide Nazareth Academy through the complex educational and fiscal challenges of the 21st century." In the first year of the President/Principal model, the school was strengthened both academically and financially with noteworthy increases in both enrollment and fundraising.
Mr. Meredith received overwhelming support from the Board, CSFN Mission and Ministry and our sponsor - the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth. His credentials, experience and most especially his passion for Catholic education and the mission of Nazareth Academy High School are exemplary. Over his 21 years in Catholic education, he has built rigorous academic standards with an increase of Advanced Placement courses, creation of college partnerships, implementation of online learning, and the formation of professional development and teacher evaluation with strategic mentoring to foster high level instruction for student learning.
Mr. Meredith's leadership is deeply rooted in his belief that leaders must always answer to the mantra of what is best for our students. He recognizes student achievement in academics is hollow if students do not grow as people and serve others. Sister Virginette Rypniewski, CSFN, Board Chair, felt strongly that after more than two decades as a Catholic teacher and administrator that Mr. Meredith demonstrates a sense of the importance of reinforcing academic rigor, deepening the atmosphere of faith in both, staff and students, and respecting 90 years of the educational spirit of excellence and achievement which is NAHS. She stated that "uniting their efforts in this joint endeavor, Mr. Meredith, Principal, and Mrs. LePera, President, will forge ahead to strengthen and enhance the overall educational experience, the result of which, will be young women prepared to take their place as our leaders of the future."
As Principal, Mr. Meredith will lead the aspects of academics, guidance, athletics and student life while Mrs. LePera will continue to oversee the operational side of Nazareth Academy High School: marketing, development, advancement, admissions, and finance." In collaboration Mr. Meredith and Mrs. LePera will advance the mission of the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth and articulate the Catholic identity of Nazareth Academy with passion and vision while modeling faith-centered leadership.
"Nazareth Academy High School has led young women to develop their potential academically, spiritually, and personally through a foundation of strong faith, rigorous academics, and a focus on family for nearly ninety years." Mr. Meredith said. "It is both an awesome responsibility and an exciting opportunity to be a part of this significant endeavor. I look forward to working with the Nazareth Family and continuing this tremendous mission while focusing on growth for the future. I want to acknowledge Sister Rita Fanning, CSFN, whose exemplary leadership, devotion to the students, teachers, staff, and community and commitment to the mission of Nazareth moved this school forward. I am also grateful to her for her invaluable service to the school community and assistance to me personally during this transition."
Mr. Meredith holds a Master's in Education Leadership from Cabrini University and Bachelor of Arts from DeSales University. He currently serves as Assistant Superintendent for Secondary Schools for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia where he has worked with the secondary schools of the Archdiocese to enhance academic quality through professional development and teacher evaluation, refine high school operations, and develop new and innovative curriculum and programs.
Over his 21-year career, Meredith served as principal most recently at Pope John Paul II High School and formerly at Archbishop Ryan High School. Serving as principal in the Archdiocese he fostered the spiritual, academic and social life of the school earning the reputation as being a quintessential Catholic educator, earning great respect from faculty, students and parents because of his mantra, "What is best for our students?". Mr. Meredith was named an inaugural Neubauer Fellow in Educational Leadership for high-performing principals in the city of Philadelphia. This fellowship has afforded Mr. Meredith the opportunity to work with educational and business leaders across the Philadelphia-area in a setting that Mr. Meredith described "as the most impactful professional development for my work as a school leader in my entire career."
Family is an integral part of Mr. Meredith's life. He and his wife Kate are the proud parents of five daughters. He is a member of the Knights of Columbus and serves on the St. Katherine of Siena School Board of Limited Jurisdiction as well as the St. Cecilia School Principal's Advisory Board. Mr. Meredith and his family are parishioners of St. Cecilia Parish in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.