This is the official first flare being sent skyward, announcing that another school year is approaching. Of course, there are other signs you are already well aware of and have been attending to, from sports camps to textbook ordering to uniform purchasing. So, let it be known that we are gearing up, and this mailing contains a full listing of opening dates and activities.
Having been away on renewal from January through June, I am still catching up with news and views related to all that transpired during that time. I am very grateful to Father Harhager and Ms. Ellis for so willingly and capably taking up all that would otherwise have been mine during that time, and to Mrs. DeLoach, Assistant to the Principal, for her assistance to them and to all others. It is no surprise that the school seems not to have skipped a beat throughout my absence.
There are always rumors afloat whenever the normal routine changes, such as that I would not return to Marist, but—alas—I have dashed that hope for anyone harboring the notion. It is indeed good to be back amid the familiar faces and sights, and it will be all that much more exciting to welcome new students and families to the school in a few weeks. I am fully rested and am thankful to Father Keating, the Marist Provincial, for affording me a generous time away from my normal duties. I was able to be on retreat, to take coursework, to write and to read, to visit far-off places, and to ponder a range of things that, on the average day, are shoved to the back burner, where they most often evaporate. Such a luxury as I have experienced is rare, I know, in all the world. I am grateful for what it has allowed me to do, and I will have more to say on it as we progress.
As is the case each year, new people have come on board, and there are internal shifts that require a reshuffling of staff. I will attempt to list some of these below, so that you are informed of the changes. The Marist School directory, which will be available for you shortly, is fully updated and will contain all necessary information on reaching the appropriate person at Marist.
Four senior staff members retired this summer. After 28 years at Marist, most of them spent as chief assistant to the Athletic Director, Diane Haertel has retired. Chandler Yount (B.S., M.Ed., Florida State) will be Assistant Athletic Director. He has experience directing athletic programs at Heritage Prep, Mt. Pisgah Christian School, Windward Athletic Club, and elsewhere. Ron Bell, longtime Marist coach and teacher, has retired after 35 years at Marist. Mr. McClaire (B.A., Niagara University), already Coach Bell’s replacement in basketball, will take up his duties also in Physical Education. And Señora Haig, after more than twenty years of teaching Spanish at Marist, has retired. Ms. Dalton will now teach the A.P. Spanish classes, and Patricia Urrea (B.S., Georgia), with experience at Norcross and North Gwinnett High Schools, will join the Spanish faculty.
Ms. Austin, former mathematics teacher, Assistant Dean, and Calendar Coordinator, has departed after 32 years at Marist. Mrs. Luke, Marist alumna and science teacher, will be Calendar Coordinator and will continue to teach in the Science Department. Joining the biology faculty is Carol Rivera (B.S., Fayetteville State; M.A., South Alabama; Ed.S., Missouri), with experience teaching in Alabama and Japan. Additionally, Sarah Styf (B.A., Kalamazoo College; M.A., Virginia), with experience in Fairfax County (VA) and Cobb County Schools, will teach middle school science.
Mrs. Zimmermann has retired from Marist after five years in Campus Ministry. Ms. McGregor, Marist alumna and science teacher, will move full-time to work in Campus Ministry. Replacing Ms. McGregor in chemistry is Melvin Feng (B.S., Texas at Austin), who has taught at Parkview High School. Mr. Crunk has gone on to graduate studies, and replacing him in English is John Baum (B.A., Tulane; M.A., Southern Mississippi; M.F.A., Georgia College and State U.), who has taught at Stratford Academy, Holy Innocents’, and elsewhere. Mr. Burke, of the Advancement Office, has taken another position. Coming into the Advancement Office from the Westminster Schools is Meeghan Fortson (B.A., Middlebury), who will assist Mrs. Dorsey as Director of Development.
An addition to the Counseling Department will be Kendall Reid-Webster (B.S., M.S., Georgia State). Ms. Reid-Webster, already assistant varsity volleyball coach, will take up some of the counseling responsibilities in grades 7 through 10. In the past year we enjoyed the assistance of Marist graduate Adna Muliawan in an internship role. Adna has gone on to graduate studies at the University of Georgia. We will, though, welcome Liam Curtin (B.A., South Florida), a candidate for the Society of Mary, who will live with the Marists and assist in a variety of school roles.
Mr. Hoecker has retired after 15 years as Information Systems Manager, and Mrs. Thigpen, Controller, is moving with her family back to their native Tennessee. Mrs. Liu, who was with us just the one year as teacher of Chinese, has returned to China. We will have the part-time assistance this year of another teacher of Chinese.
We are very grateful to all those who have made particular and lasting contributions as educators or in an administrative or support role. And we’re glad that people seem to want to work here, so we get to welcome some very talented and hopeful newcomers.
That last part holds for students, too. We’re blessed to have a great complement of new students ready to begin the year soon, and, of course, we look forward to welcoming back the many students and professionals on our staff who are returning. The first month or so is always replete with parent activities, so place your weekly or monthly calendar in a prominent place, and we will be seeing you soon and often.
May God bless all of you in your role as parents and all of us as cooperators in the great work of education in the coming year.
Rev. Joel Konzen, S.M.