Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Randy Sly

11/26/2008 (6 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Notre Dame Academy, a private Catholic high school in Middleburg, Virginia will no longer consider themselves Catholic after July 1, 2009. The action by the Board of Trustees has brought about anger on the part of many parents and at least one lawsuit.

Highlights

By Randy Sly

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

11/26/2008 (6 years ago)

Published in U.S.


WASHINGTON (Catholic Online) - Notre Dame Academy, located in Middleburg, Virginia, just outside of Washington, DC, describes itself as an "independent, Catholic, co-educational, college preparatory high school..." at least until now. Founded in 1965, the current Board of Trustees recently announced that school will not comply with the Diocese of Arlington's Policy 910, which requires that Catholic schools have a Catholic headmaster. The change will go into effect July 1, 2009.

Claiming that the Catholic requirement has hindered their search for a permanent head, the board sent an email to parents on October 10, 2008, stating that "any limiting criteria placed on the process has reduced our pool of potential candidates and has hindered our search."

Reportedly, the Chief Operating Officer of the Academy, Mr. Dan Dolan, who is a Catholic, had applied for the job but was ignored.

The Most Reverend Paul Loverde, Bishop of the Diocese of Arlington, where the academy is located, contacted the Chairman of the Board, Mr. Jim Atkins, on October 8, before the email had been sent. Atkins confirmed to the bishop that the board was resolute in their decision. In an open letter to the diocese, Bishop Loverde also indicated that Mr. Atkins further stated the Board of Trustees intends to amend the Articles of Incorporation for the school to delete the statement that it is a "Roman Catholic organization" functioning "in accordance with the traditions and teachings of the Roman Catholic Church."

The bishop informed Mr. Atkins he had no choice but to announce that Notre Dame would no longer be considered a Catholic School and would not be allowed to recruit in the elementary schools and parishes in the diocese.

"I am deeply disappointed that this formerly Catholic institution will no longer be counted among our Catholic schools," he stated, "and that families in the western part of our diocese who wish to provide a Catholic high school education for their children will lose one option for doing so. I am encouraged, however, by the ongoing commitment of so many in our diocese as we work to provide faithful, excellent Catholic education to as many children as possible."

The decision by the board will bring about a significant shift in identity for an educational institution that had an excellent reputation as a private Catholic school. "The Catholic mission of Notre Dame Academy is rooted in the Catholic principles upon which our school was founded.

Many parents are, not surprisingly, quite upset with the change. Diane Beauchamp, whose son Thomas is a freshman, told the Loudoun Times-Mirror, "We want a Catholic school. There are other schools out there that are private that are better academically, but I want that Catholic factor. I want my children to be balanced, and our Catholic faith is what really lays that foundation."

The October 10 email took parents, who had just paid approximately $18,000 in tuition, completely by surprise. While most will be leaving their students at the school for the current year, next year may be very different.

Some parents, however, are supportive, citing the difficulty in fundraising and staffing.

Catholic Online sought a comment from Dr. George Conway, the interim CEO at Notre Dame. He was not able to comment, due to pending litigation regarding the situation. A lawsuit against the Academy and the Board of Trustees has been filed by a former board member, Mr. Jim Wilson.

The suit asserts that Maggie Mangano, of The Frank Mangano Foundation, made a large donation to the Academy and, in return, was given seats on the board for herself and Foundation Treasurer, Michael Hoover. Further, the suit claims that Mangano promised not to change the mission of the school, but later did just that, encouraging other board members to move away from their Catholic identity.

Wilson told the Loudoun Times-Mirror, "In the loan agreement, she demanded seats on the board, which gave her control of the school, but the board felt it was an acceptable bargain on paper. The problem is you have no assurances that they're going to keep their promise. As soon as she got the school, she moved it from being Catholic."

Wilson also stated that those who disagreed with the new direction for the school resigned or were voted off the board. He lost his seat in an election held earlier in November.

While half of the school's enrollment is non-Catholic, the current board of 12 members has only one Catholic. The board was originally made up of 20 individuals with the requirement that at least 50% of the trustees be Catholic.

Notre Dame Academy was founded by the Sisters of Notre Dame of Chardon, Ohio, in 1965 and operated as a private, independent Catholic school. In 2000, the Sisters of Notre Dame sold the school to an independent Board of Trustees.

The board continued to operate in accordance with Canon 803 from the Code of Canon Law, which states that the Bishop as the person responsible for guaranteeing that the education provided at our Catholic schools is "based on the principles of Catholic doctrine" and that the teachers and curriculum uphold the teachings of the Church Catholic Schools. The diocese and the school had, until recently, enjoyed a very positive working relationship.

Specialists in Catholic education note that such dramatic shifts in orientation are not necessary to guarantee the future of private secondary education. They report that private Catholic academies have always been a part of a significant instructional tradition in America, and will continue be a part of Catholic education for years to come. They further cite schools such as St. Joseph's Catholic School in Greenville, SC, which maintains a strong community presence while remaining faithful to the authority, teachings, and ethos of the Catholic Faith.


Randy Sly is a communications specialist and Associate Editor for Catholic Online. A former Archbishop of the Charismatic Episcopal Church, he has served in full time Christian ministry for over 30 years. He and his wife Sandy came into the full communion of the Catholic Church three years ago.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for June 2015
Universal:
That immigrants and refugees may find welcome and respect in the countries to which they come.
Evangelization: That the personal encounter with Jesus may arouse in many young people the desire to offer their own lives in priesthood or consecrated life.


Rosaries, Crosses, Prayer Cards and more... by Catholic Shopping .com


Comments


More U.S.

Risk for massive earthquake in California increases as scientists find dangerous helium coming from fault zone Watch

Image of

By Talia Ramos (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Researchers recently discovered helium leaking from a giant fault in the Earth's crust near Los Angeles, as well as discovering an increase in chance for California to have an 8.0 magnitude earthquake. MUNTINLUPA, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - They did not expect the ... continue reading


United States prepares for Fourth of July amidst threat of ISIS attacks Watch

Image of The U.S. Government prepares for possible terrorist attacks this coming Independence Day celebration in the U.S.

By Linky C. (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Three days before the United States' Independence Day, the FBI has already began setting up command centers in all of the 56 field offices across the country prior to the fourth. The U.S. Government is preparing for possible terrorist attacks and terrorist threats that ... continue reading


America's MOST and LEAST patriotic states in 2015 Watch

Image of Virginia [not pictured] has been named the most patriotic state.

By Nikky Andres (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A recent American pride survey, published on June 29, 2015, revealed Virginia to be at the top of the current list of the most patriotic states in the USA. WalletHub, a consumer website, evaluated the military and civic engagement of all 50 states, included in the ... continue reading


The Martyrdom of the Apostles Peter and Paul Invites Us Into a New Missionary Age Watch

Image of On this great Feast we need to rededicate ourselves to being true witnesses, with an adult faith, willing to participate fully in this new missionary age of the Catholic Church. May the blood of the Martyrs continue to be the seed of the Church. St. Peter and St. Paul, pray for us!

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

Since at least the Third Century, Christians have commemorated this day as a Solemnity, the day when the two pillars of the Church, the great Apostles, Peter and Paul, met the Lord whom they served with such beauty, face to face in the communion of eternal love. ... continue reading


Junior lifeguard competition cancelled after 15 great white sharks spotted swimming near shore in California beach Watch

Image of

By Talia Ramos (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The NorCal Junior Lifeguards competition was cancelled following the reported sightings of at least 15 great white sharks swimming near the shore in Aptos, Santa Cruz. Helicopters and boats were sent off to determine the situation before the event, confirming that ... continue reading


Fear of ISIS expansion along U.S. border grows Watch

Image of The fear of the ISIS breaching security in the southern borders of the U.S. is being addressed by the government.

By Linky C. (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The United States is considering the possible breach in the security of its southern borders. With drugs, illegal immigrants and several illegal activities being localized in this area, the militant group, ISIS may actually target this region for their terrorist plans. ... continue reading


United States Population: More minority children than whites, more whites dying than being born Watch

Image of Minority children are currently dominating the number of native Americans in the US.

By Linky C. (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The United States' population is composed of Americans and millions of immigrants and foreigners considered to be part of the "minority group." As the years pass, the American population is now starting to become dominated by the "minority group."roup. MUNTINLUPA, ... continue reading


8-year-old boy bitten by shark in knee-deep water, fourth case over past two weeks in NC Watch

Image of

By Talia Ramos (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A frantic 911 call was made after an 8-year-old boy was bitten by a shark while swimming in knee-deep water at a beach in North Carolina. During the emergency call, the boy is heard screaming, as the caller tells the operator that his foot has punctured holes and ... continue reading


California legislature's who HATE Catholics want Father Juniper Serra statue OUT of Capitol Watch

Image of Bl. Junipero Serra played a leading role in California history, helping to convert thousands of native Californians to Christianity and teaching them new technologies.

By CNA/EWTN News

A statue of Franciscan missionary and saint-to-be Father Junipero Serra has stood in the U.S. Capitol since 1931, but its future may depend on an upcoming hearing in the California legislature and the success of a "Let's Save Serra" campaign. SACRAMENTO, CA ... continue reading


HERE COMES THE POPE - As many as 1.5 million faithful expected to greet Pope Francis in Philadelphia in September Watch

Image of More than 1.5 million people are expected for the Mass with Pope Francis in at that time. About 12,000 people were registered for the congress earlier this month.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Excitement is building for the visit from Pope Francis in Philadelphia this coming September. The Pope will be there for the once-every-three-years World Meeting of Families from September 22 through 25. Archbishop Charles J. Chaput met with the Pope after the ... continue reading


All U.S. News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Genesis 21:5, 8-20
5 Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 34:7-8, 10-11, 12-13
7 The angel of Yahweh encamps around those who fear ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 8:28-34
28 When he reached the territory of the Gadarenes on ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for July 1st, 2015 Image

Bl. Junipero Serra
July 1: Miguel Jose Serra was born on the island of Majorca on November ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter