Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Randy Sly

11/26/2008 (7 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 (7 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'


Copyright 2016 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for May 2016
Universal:
Respect for Women: That in every country of the world, women may be honored and respected and that their essential contribution to society may be highly esteemed.
Evangelization: Holy Rosary: That families, communities, and groups may pray the Holy Rosary for evangelization and peace.



Comments


More U.S.

Edward Nero, arresting officer of Freddie Gray, NOT GUILTY. Will Baltimore erupt once more? Watch

Image of Officer Edward Nero arrives at court. Nero has been acquitted of crimes in the death of Freddie Gray.

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

The arresting officer in the Freddie Gray case, Edward Nero, has been declared "not guilty" by the judge in his criminal trial. Now, the community waits to see if violence will erupt or if the streets will remain quiet. LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - Officer ... continue reading


Tell Me About the Trinity: Honoring Jerry and Plumbing the Mystery of God Watch

Image of

By Deacon Keith Fournier

'The mystery of the Most Holy Trinity is the central mystery of Christian faith and life. It is the mystery of God in himself. It is therefore the source of all the other mysteries of faith, the light that enlightens them. It is the most fundamental and essential ... continue reading


Father Frank Pavone on Father Daniel Berrigan's Pro-Life Activism Watch

Image of Fr. Daniel Berrigan

By Fr Frank Pavone

Father Berrigan was a radical figure who sent a total of almost seven years in prison.  What many don't realize though is that his activism extended beyond the anti-war movement and into the anti-abortion movement. Believing in what he called a consistent ... continue reading


Law allows persons to sue if you don't use the correct pronoun out of 58 to describe a person's sexual identity Watch

Image of We're going to need a lot more restrooms.

By David Drudge (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Under a new law, businesses in New York will be fined if they don't use a person's preferred pronoun when referring to them. This especially becomes a problem when it is understood there are at least 58 possible pronouns with at least five grammatical variations ... continue reading


Science fiction? Feds discover the 'Grocery List,' post tweets to promote new technology Watch

Image of After millions of dollars in federal spending, government scientists have discovered the grocery list technology. Where would we be without such courageous efforts?

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

The Federal Government has discovered the grocery list technology. This unlock apparently occurred recently as the Department of Agriculture sent encouraging, rapid-fire tweets to the public about how to use this remarkable new advancement. LOS ANGELES, CA (California ... continue reading


Texas to build own version of Ft. Knox, is secession next? Watch

Image of Texas is bringing home its gold.

By David Drudge (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Texas is taking another step to becoming an independent Republic by recalling its gold and other precious metals home. A private company is planning to construct a bullion depository south of Houston, creating a virtual Ft. Knox for the state. LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading


We Need a New Pentecost and Whatever Happened to those Charismatic Catholics? Watch

Image of The fire of Pentecost

By Deacon Keith Fournier

I am one of countless thousands upon thousands whose life was profoundly changed by an experience, an encounter, with the Holy Spirit decades ago. I am old enough to remember when we who had this encounter were sometimes  called Pentecostal Catholics. That ... continue reading


The Obama Department of (In) Justice Takes on North Carolina, Civil Rights, and Sexual Difference Watch

Image of Federal Attorney General Loretta Lynch and North Carolina Governor McCrory

By Deacon Keith Fournier

If you rely on the main stream media for your news reports, you will not hear the truth of what is really happening in North Carolina. Much of the media uses Orwellian newspeak in its reports and has degenerated into a propaganda wing of the current ... continue reading


Will Texas leave the United States? Watch

Image of Texas plans to secede from the United States (texas.gov).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Texas has been thinking about seceding from the United States for quite a while. Now, after a Wednesday meeting of the Platform Committee of the Texas Republican Party, a Texas independence resolution will be up for vote during this week's GOP convention. LOS ANGELES, ... continue reading


Alleged foul mouthed priest terrorizes Catholic school Watch

Image of Fr. Michael P. Reilly has been accused of being a foul mouthed priest.

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Rev. Michael P. Reilly, a Catholic priest assigned to St. Joseph by the Sea High School in New York is in a lot of trouble this morning for his language. A suit filed in a Manhattan Supreme Court, alleges the priest made rude comments, swore constantly, and verbally ... continue reading


All U.S. News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

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

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

the FEED
by Catholic Online

Daily Readings

Reading 1, First Peter 1:10-16
10 This salvation was the subject of the search and investigation of the ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 98:1, 2-3, 3-4
1 [Psalm] Sing a new song to Yahweh, for he has performed wonders, his ... Read More

Gospel, Mark 10:28-31
28 Peter took this up. 'Look,' he said to him, 'we have left everything ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for May 24th, 2016 Image

St. David I of Scotland
May 24: David, the youngest son of Scotland's virtuous ... Read More