It's not an entirely new experience for Sister Barbara Davis to take over the reins as the new principal of a school.
The first three weeks she said, have been what she's hoped for and feels welcomed by the "wonderful cooperative atmosphere,'' in the elementary school on Sylvania's Silica Road.
She is taking over from JoAnn Tallarico who retired after 10 years as principal - first at what was the St. Francis Education Center on the campus of Lourdes College and now is the academy which opened just over two years ago.
Sister Barbara is familiar with the academy from her work as a consultant with the office of Catholic Youth and School Services for the Diocese of Toledo.
She said one of the factors which led her to seek the position was the commitment to education she had become aware of through her work of the sisters of St. Francis who own the school.
Sister Barbara's joined the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati in 1960 and has spent all of her years in that religious community involved in elementary education.
She first taught at St. Mary School in Greenville, O., and later spend 16 years at St. Michael School in Findlay, O. She was a teacher there for 6 years and principal 10 years. The moved to Toledo in 1986 when she worked as a consultant in education for the diocese, before going to Shelby, O., in 1990 where she was principal of St. Mary School.
She returned to the diocese as a consultant, but that job was eliminated at about the time the principal's position became available at the academy.
Victoria Haidet. a member of the school board, said she has heard nothing but good words about the first weeks of Sister Barbara, and that she has always marveled at the number of duties for a principal of a small school.
When the school stands alone, there's not a big system for support, "so while you're trying to meet the children and everyone else, you have to think about the air conditioning being a little off, and scheduling. You have to be a real entrepreneur.''
Sister Barbara in 1998 was cited as a distinguished principal by both the U.S. Department of Education and by the National Catholic Education Association.
Sister Barbara said she has no intention of making any big changes at the academy, adding that the school will continue to stress facets of the Catholic religion in its curriculum.
She noted that some of the children come from families of other faiths, but that in teaching American history, for instance, the history of the Catholic Church in America is included.
Although familiar with Catholic education and the Toledo area in general, Sister Barbara said she is anxious to also become familiar with the Sylvania Community and with its school system.
Sister Barbara said "It is very important to have a connection with the community,'' and she looks forward to investigating collaborative efforts in the area.
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