By NICHOLE GOLDEN, Staff Writer | Published August 24, 2017
ATLANTA—As the 2017-18 school year gets underway, five archdiocesan schools welcome new principals.
Bill Dooley will serve as principal of Our Lady of Mercy High School in Fayetteville. New principals for elementary schools are Dr. Jamie Arthur at Queen of Angels School in Roswell; Dr. Julie Broom at St. John Neumann Regional School in Lilburn; Theresa Napoli at St. Joseph School in Athens; and George Wilkerson at Our Lady of Victory School in Tyrone. Napoli will serve as St. Joseph’s interim principal for this school year.
Each of the new principals shared thoughts on their new roles by email.
Bill Dooley, Our Lady of Mercy High School, Fayetteville
An educator for two decades, Bill Dooley takes the helm at Our Lady of Mercy High School in Fayetteville, one of three archdiocesan high schools. Our Lady of Mercy opened in 2000.
Dooley started his career as a Spanish teacher at Archbishop Blenk High School, an all girls Catholic high school outside of New Orleans. He then taught Advanced Placement Spanish at Jesuit High School in New Orleans until 2006. Dooley was also an adjunct instructor at Southern University at New Orleans and Tulane University.
Post-Hurricane Katrina, Dooley relocated to Houston, Texas, where he was an adjunct instructor of Spanish at Lone Star College. He also taught at Stratford High and Cristo Rey Jesuit School of Houston. For the past few years, he was dean of the language department at St. Thomas High School in Houston.
Dooley followed in the footsteps of his father, a high school chemistry teacher who retired after 30 years of service, and his educator mother.
“I guess you could say education is in my blood,” said Dooley. “I was blessed with many great teachers, educators and role models in my time, including my parents.”
He earned a bachelor of arts in Spanish from Quincy University, a Franciscan university in Quincy, Illinois, a master of arts in Spanish language and literature from the University of New Orleans, and a master of education in educational leadership from the University of St. Thomas in Houston.
“While at Quincy University, I met Father J.J. Lakers, OFM, and Sister Ricarda Raab, OSF, who had a profound impact on my desire to work in Catholic education,” he wrote.
Dooley is a member of St. Philip Benizi Church in Jonesboro. He has led mission trips to Nicaragua through Amigos for Christ since 2005 and last March participated in a cultural exchange mission trip to Cuba with students from St. Thomas High School.
“As an educator, the rewards of our jobs do not always come right away—we see them in the successes of our students down the road,” said Dooley. “Seeing the growth in students, how they mature, and how they transform their communities and the world is a gift that keeps on giving.”
Dooley said he is truly humbled to serve at Our Lady of Mercy with teachers committed to Catholic education.
“There are exciting times ahead for the entire community,” he noted.
“Mercy offers something other schools in the area simply cannot—a top-notch Catholic college prep education. Maintaining our Catholic identity, while simultaneously growing our community and raising awareness of what we have to offer both students and their families, will serve as the primary focus of my leadership this first year,” he said. “Amazing things happen here at Mercy each and every day.”
Dr. Jamie Arthur, Queen of Angels School, Roswell
Dr. Jamie Arthur used her first weeks as principal of Queen of Angels School in Roswell to better understand the school community.
“I believe one of my primary goals is to work with the different constituencies associated with the school to better understand their roles in the implementation of the various programs,” said Arthur.
Queen of Angels’ new principal holds a bachelor of business administration degree in finance from the University of Georgia and a master of education degree in secondary math from the University of South Carolina. Arthur earned a doctorate in philosophy, educational policy studies, with concentration in educational leadership from Georgia State University.
Arthur was a middle school coordinator and math teacher at Christ the King School in Atlanta from 1987-1996.
She worked in institutional advancement at Holy Spirit Preparatory School in Atlanta for a number of years, as well as serving as the vice president and administrative head of school for 12 years. She oversees the Solidarity School in Atlanta, a preschool founded to give Hispanic children an English immersion program.
Arthur is a senior fellow of the Cardinal Newman Society, directing its national Catholic Education Honor Roll program. She is author of “The Call to Teach: Guidance on what it means to be a Catholic educator.”
Arthur’s hobbies include playing tennis, practicing yoga, trail walking and cooking. Her three grown children all attended Christ the King School. She has five grandchildren.
She said by virtue of being a Catholic school, Queen of Angels is special.
“I have come to know the army of volunteers that comprise the Home and School Association. These mothers and fathers provide countless hours of volunteer time to enrich the spiritual and academic dimensions of our school,” said Arthur. “Each child and member of our faculty and staff are the beneficiaries of their dedication.”
She said the school is also unique because of the commitment and dedication of long-serving faculty members. There are 10 staff members who have been part of the school since its founding year of 1999.
“Our community is strong and vibrant, an aspect treasured by all,” said Arthur.
She has dedicated her career to Catholic education based on a belief in the Church’s mission to form students intellectually, spiritually, morally and physically.
“Catholic education is critical to preparing students to lead society and the Church in the future,” she said. “The rewards are not immediate but are experienced when you have a former student who contacts you as an adult and, with a sense of pride, you know you had a small part in their growth and development.”
Dr. Julie Broom, St. John Neumann Regional School, Lilburn
Dr. Julie Broom is principal of St. John Neumann Regional School in Lilburn. As a young person, Broom’s interests were studying how the brain learns and working with children, which led her to teaching.
Although education seemed an obvious path, Broom took a detour, starting in physical rehabilitation for people with brain injuries.
“This led me quickly toward education and from there I realized this was my true love. Adding the Catholic aspect to this love from my own upbringing of spending 12 years in Catholic education was also a natural course for me,” she wrote. “Living my faith out loud, integrating it into every aspect of my day and sharing it openly is very exciting to me.”
Broom earned a bachelor of science in therapeutic recreation and physical therapy from the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley. She received a master’s degree in educational and behavioral science and special education from Houston Baptist University in Houston, Texas. Broom earned her doctorate of education in educational leadership from Argosy University, Sarasota, Florida.
Broom was an elementary school teacher in Texas public schools. She later taught in Catholic schools in Texas and Colorado and was an interim principal. She filled a variety of administrative roles in the Houston Independent School District.
Since 2003, she has been executive director of the Institute for Research and Reform in Education, which assists struggling schools.
Broom’s husband, Kirk, is a candidate to become a permanent deacon. They have three grown children and three grandchildren. She enjoys riding horses, hiking and reading.
She says her foremost goal at St. John Neumann is supporting faculty, staff and parents in providing education that fosters faith.
“In order to do this I must engage with the community—teachers, administrators, parents, parishes we serve and the community at large, getting to know them, their hopes and aspirations for the school and developing a deep knowledge of the history and context of the school,” she said.
St. John Neumann is in a year of accreditation and strategic planning, requiring a study of data, a setting of goals and implementation.
“The theory of change that results from this work will guide us as we work toward increasing our enrollment and continue to provide the best instruction possible,” said Broom.
She said the school is diverse and unique, having provided education for more than three decades to families in Gwinnett and DeKalb counties and greater Atlanta since opening in 1986.
Broom said over half of the school’s staff hold master’s degrees in education, with many serving over 20 years.
“Combine this amazing staff with the army of parents willing to step in and help in any way possible, we have what it will take to move our school in meeting our goals,” she said.
Theresa Napoli, St. Joseph School, Athens
Theresa Napoli will serve as interim principal for the current school year at St. Joseph School in Athens.
Napoli is a graduate of the University of Georgia with a bachelor’s degree in child and family development. She holds a master of arts for teachers from UGA, graduating from the program in 2010 with reading, math and language endorsements.
She said she feels “very lucky to have received such a wonderful education at UGA over the years and was even luckier to begin a career at a school as special as St. Joseph.”
Napoli first began working at the school as an intern and paraprofessional. She started the pre-kindergarten program at St. Joseph in the fall of 2009. After five years, Napoli made the move to teach first grade.
She entered education “with the goal of inspiring others to see their potential and to motivate students to use their strengths to improve the world around them.”
Last year, Napoli started an educational leadership program at the University of West Georgia. She calls it a privilege “to have grown personally and professionally in the SJS family” and is looking forward to continuing the journey as interim principal.
“The St. Joseph community certainly offers something special. It is an important part of the history of Athens, having been a part of the community since 1949,” she shared by email. “Originally headed by missionary Sisters, the church and school were an important part of the growth of the Catholic community in Athens.”
Napoli considers it an honor to be able to foster the development of future leaders through the Catholic faith and teachings of the Church.
Napoli hopes to nurture the St. Joseph community to grow in faith and family, never forgetting that students are at the center of everything.
Her established goals for the year include getting the word out about the quality education St. Joseph provides. Napoli hopes to highlight the extraordinary work of the faculty and staff and the academic success of students.
In May, the priests of St. Joseph Church met with representatives of the Archdiocese of Atlanta, the school advisory council and parishioners to discuss declining enrollment and rising costs. The church used a surplus to cover a deficit with hopes to better promote what the school offers.
“Together, with the support of the parish, the school plans to move forward in continuous improvement and work hard to reach the goals set forth by the Archdiocese of Atlanta for all of its schools,” she said.
Napoli is the Green School Coordinator at St. Joseph School, which allows her to practice her passions for recycling, composting, waste reduction, beautification and bettering the future.
In addition to teaching, Napoli loves spending time outdoors. She enjoys “everything Athens has to offer, especially all of the wonderful music and delicious restaurants.”
Napoli volunteers in the community as the chairperson for Keep Athens-Clarke County Beautiful. She also serves as a Georgia Master Composter, educating citizens in Athens about ways to help the earth. Napoli is a member of St. Joseph Church and looks forward to continuing to nurture her own spiritual growth as interim principal.
George Wilkerson, Our Lady of Victory School, Tyrone
Newnan resident George Wilkerson, most recently the assistant principal at East Coweta Middle School in Senoia, will serve as the new principal of Our Lady of Victory School in Tyrone, which opened in 1999.
A parishioner of the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Atlanta, Wilkerson received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in business education from the University of West Georgia in Carrollton. He earned a specialist’s degree in educational leadership from Mercer University.
Wilkerson taught for one year at Villa Rica High School and spent six years as a teacher and coach at Madras Middle School in Newnan. He then spent six years as assistant principal at East Coweta Middle School.
A football fan, Wilkerson also loves to read and spend time with his family. He and wife, Jherine, have two daughters, Bailey and Avery, and a son, Emerson.
Wilkerson said he had several reasons for deciding to pursue a career in education.
“I like sports, so I wanted to coach. I had several family members that were educators. I enjoyed working with young people. I think all of those had an impact on my choice of career,” he said.
Education is a career path that Wilkerson finds rewarding.
“I enjoy working in education because it allows me to be a servant. Working in a school allows me to serve students, teachers, parents, and the community at large. I believe we are all called to be servants to our neighbors. Education is the perfect setting to do that.”
Wilkerson has several goals for his inaugural school year at Our Lady of Victory.
“One of my goals at Our Lady of Victory is to continue the rich tradition of providing a rigorous education to our students while building a strong Catholic foundation within them as well,” he said. “I want to see OLV continue to grow and provide our students with greater opportunities to grow educational, emotionally, and above all spiritually.”
The new principal believes OLV is the best school around.
“We are small but mighty,” said Wilkerson. “OLV serves a truly diverse community, which is reflected in our student population. With having a small teacher-to-student class ratio, our teachers are afforded the opportunity to provide the student with the individualized instruction that will foster a love for lifelong learning.”