Bishop appoints Sister Sara Kowal, SCTJM, as principal of Peoria Notre Dame

Sister Sara Kowal, SCTJM

Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, CSC, has appointed Sister Sara Kowal, SCTJM, to serve as principal of Peoria Notre Dame High School for the remainder of the current academic year. The announcement was made March 6.

Sister Sara, who has taught theology and directed campus ministry at the school for seven years, was to have succeeded principal Randy Simmons after his retirement in June. When they spoke of it at a school Mass on Feb. 1, he said he was excited to return to the classroom.

Simmons’ death on Feb. 19 made it necessary for her appointment to become effective sooner to ensure the continuation of the “excellence in leadership for which Peoria Notre Dame is known,” Bishop Jenky said.

In a letter to the “Notre Dame family,” the bishop said Sister Sara would be supported by Dr. Susie Cicciarelli, vice principal, “whose leadership was of great assistance to us in these recent days,” and Father Kyle Lucas, chaplain, “who has provided tremendous pastoral guidance and who will also be supervising campus ministry with Sister Sara’s transition to administration.”

Rounding out the leadership team are Tim Speck, dean of students, and Matt Blackford, athletic director. Bishop Jenky praised them for sharing their time and talent with the school community in “these trying days.”

Acknowledging the community’s grief over the loss of Simmons, the bishop said, “I continue to hold you in my heart and prayers, but also know that our PND family is strong and committed to continue the excellence in Catholic education of which Mr. Simmons was so proud.”

Bishop Jenky’s letter came on Ash Wednesday and he concluded by offering his blessings and prayers that the Peoria Notre Dame community would grow in holiness, “ever mindful of the hope and life that our Lord’s resurrection brings to each of us.”

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