Announcement of New Principal

It is with great joy I announce today that Clare Abkemeier will become the new principal of St. Margaret of Scotland Catholic School.

After two months of collaboration with those in our parish and school, listening sessions, networking, and an extensive interview process, Ms. Abkemeier was unanimously and enthusiastically recommended to me by the committee as the next leader of our parish school. She will succeed Juliann DePalma Hesed, who has wonderfully served St. Margaret of Scotland for thirteen years as principal. Ms. Hesed shepherded our school during an era of remarkable growth while fostering our reputation of individual care for each student’s academic and spiritual development. Based on Ms. Abkemeier’s professional experience and widespread accolades, the committee and I are confident she will serve our students, faculty, parents, and community in a way that continues to promote our most cherished values.

Ms. Abkemeier has been an educator with the Archdiocese of St. Louis since 2012. She previously served as the founding principal of the St. John Paul II campus of Holy Cross Academy from 2016-2019. Prior to this, she was a second and third grade teacher at the St. Michael the Archangel campus of Holy Cross Academy. She received her Bachelor of Arts with a focus in Elementary Education from Benedictine College and a Master of Arts in Catholic School Leadership from Saint Louis University.

Ms. Abkemeier was born and raised in St. Louis. She attended St. Margaret Mary Alacoque and Ursuline Academy. In her free time, she likes to spend time with her family, friends, and golden retriever, Cooper.

Ms. Abkemeier is excited to join the St. Margaret of Scotland parish and school community, and she is committed to preserving the tremendous progress St. Margaret has made while continuing to promote our mission and unique charism.

In the weeks and months ahead, Ms. Abkemeier will become more familiar with the St. Margaret of Scotland community through meet-and-greet opportunities as well as transitional planning with Ms. Hesed, faculty, and staff. She will also be involved in the search for an assistant principal and the hiring of new teachers for the next school year.

I am grateful for the time and wisdom shared by the members of our principal search committee: Sean Agniel, Eric Clark, Elizabeth Deboo, Becky Finnegan, Rita Harvatin, Bryan Kujawa, Michael Marquard, Virginia Purcell, and Arsenia Tate. They took a professional and prayerful approach to the search, ensuring that the application process and discernment were rooted in the values of St. Margaret. Equally important were the ongoing prayers of the community, in particular, the novena to St. Margaret. Thank you for your prayerful support.

Join me in giving God thanks for what has been accomplished and asking good counsel for how our school will be led to grow in Grace as we move into our future. St. Margaret of Scotland – pray for us!

Reverend Matthew O’Toole

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