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 March 2015
Universal:
Scientists: That those involved in scientific research may serve the well-being of the whole human person.
Evangelization: Contribution of women: That the unique contribution of women to the life of the Church may be recognized always.



Comments


More U.S.

The top 5 things you need to know about the United States' quickly changing religious landscape Watch

Image of

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

For many years, Protestants made up the majority of the United States' population. A recent report from America Values Atlas tells us that, as the United States demographically shifts, this is no longer the case. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The United States as ... continue reading


EMPTY! Is there any gold in Fort Knox? Government's denial of audit raises serious concerns Watch

Image of While the U.S. government claims that about 3% of all minted gold sits in Fort Knox, recent and troubling rumors say that this is not true.

By Al Wooltin (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

About 3 percent of the gold ever refined in the entire history of mankind sits in the vaults of the United States Bullion Depository in Fort Knox, equaling about 5,000 metric tons of gold. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - At least this is what the government of ... continue reading


Billy the Kid's New Mexico hideout now up for sale Watch

Image of According to legend, Billy the Kid is said to have killed 21 men, but it is generally believed that he killed eight.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

It's a beautiful home in New Mexico, spacious, with breathtaking mountain views. It's hard to believe that it at one time sheltered Billy the Kid, also known as William Bonney, one of the American Wild West's most notorious outlaws. It is now on the market for ... continue reading


Obama spends an alarming $3 billion on Obamacare WITHOUT Congressional approval Watch

Image of President Obama's administration is being accused of illegally spending money on Obamacare without Congressional approval.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The U.S. Treasury Department may be moving forward with Obamacare regardless of Congressional concerns and a lack of funding, approving a $3 billion payment to health insurers despite the fact that Congress has not authorized any payments in annual ... continue reading


Obama Administration as Global Advocate for Radical LGBTI Agenda

Image of Randy Berry

By Keith A Fournier

Robert Reilly is right. The Obama administration is doing profound damage to the very understanding of human rights. We have fundamental human rights precisely because we are human persons. No-one should support the denial of truly fundamental human rights for ... continue reading


Climate change - WHERE IT HURTS: Scientists say warming will hit nation's agricultural heartland Watch

Image of The climate change panel's verdict came as a bit of a surprise: Greenhouse-gas emissions played a substantial role in Europe's misery, but not so much in California.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

There are very few positive things to result from climate change. Researchers now say that warmer temperatures will hit America where it counts: the nation's agricultural heartland. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Researchers presented their latest findings ... continue reading


WITCHES ARE BACK: Witchcraft reappears in today's popular mainstream culture in unexpected ways Watch

Image of Witches are seen in both religion and as a feminist symbol.

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The idea of the witch is making its rounds through history again. Females, both young and old, are embracing the power that comes with the feminist witch in today's society. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - In a recent twitter post, popular female rapper, Azealia ... continue reading


Alaska lights up as it become the third U.S. state to legalize marijuana Watch

Image of Twenty-three states still prohibit cannabis outright. The other U.S. states have either legalized medical marijuana or decriminalized marijuana possession.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The state of Alaska is lighting up in celebration... following Colorado's lead, Alaska has become the third U.S. state to legalize recreational marijuana use. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Voters passed the Alaska Marijuana Legalization ballot measure last ... continue reading


The Air Force pulls a B-52 from the 'Boneyard,' and you won't believe what they did with it next Watch

Image of A B-52, one of the largest and most effective bombers in the world.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

For the first time in aircraft's history, the U.S. Air Force has brought a B-52 bomber back to life from the Boneyard of the Davis-Monthan Air Force Base near Tucson, Arizona. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Nicknamed "Ghost Rider," this 53-year-old bomber had ... continue reading


Fr. Peter M. J. Stravinskas on the Chair of St. Peter and the Role of the Pope

Image of

By Fr. Peter M. J. Stravinskas, Ph.D., S.T.D.

The doctrine of infallibility, then, is derived from the principle of apostolic succession and from the fact that Jesus Christ promised His presence to His apostles when He sent them forth to teach all the nations (cf. Mt 28:20).  The Pope and the bishops in ... 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, Isaiah 1:10, 16-20
10 Hear what Yahweh says, you rulers of Sodom; listen ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 50:8-9, 16-17, 21, 23
8 'It is not with your sacrifices that I find fault, ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 23:1-12
1 Then addressing the crowds and his disciples Jesus ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for March 3rd, 2015 Image

St. Katharine Drexel
March 3: Saint Katharine Drexel, Religious (Feast Day-March 3) Born in ... 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