Back to Catholic school during the pandemic
New principals in Archdiocese of Washington schools
Sep 23, 2020
Following is a listing of new principals serving in Catholic schools throughout the Archdiocese of Washington. The information was provided to the Catholic Standard by the Catholic Schools Office:
Catherine Silverstone is the new principal of St. Mary’s School in Bryantown, Maryland. She has been the second-grade teacher at St. Mary’s School since 2009. In addition to her work as a classroom teacher, she founded and now serves as the faculty advisor to St. Mary’s National Junior Honor Society. She has been a faculty counselor for the school’s Service Learning Camp, and the coordinator for St. Mary’s National Day of Giving. On an archdiocesan level, Silverstone has been a facilitator for Teacher Collaboration Days, a teacher representative on the committee that reviewed and rewrote second-grade social studies standards, and a participant of the Leadership Academy.
Silverstone earned a master’s degree in teaching from Trinity College and a bachelor of arts degree in economics from St. Mary's College of Maryland.
“Teaching at a Catholic school is a special ministry which gives me great joy and happiness. I have served the Catholic Church for the last 23 years as a Catholic educator and believe that I am being invited to continue to do so in a different capacity,” Silverstone said. “The school motto at St. Mary’s is ‘Nurturing a life-long love for Jesus, each other, and learning.’ I was called to this ministry to help nurture, educate, and love God’s children. My journey in Catholic education is not over yet. I hope to continue to serve the Church as a mentor and leader to all those in the St. Mary’s community.”
Thomas Corrigan has accepted the position of principal of Holy Redeemer Catholic School in Kensington, Maryland, beginning in the 2020-2021 school year. Corrigan previously served for the past six years as a fifth-grade grade and middle school social studies and religion teacher at Our Lady of Victory School in Washington D.C.
He earned a bachelor of science degree in digital media arts from Canisius College and a masters of arts degree in education. Corrigan recently completed an advanced certificate program in education administration from the College of Notre Dame Maryland.
“Serving in a Catholic school allows me to demonstrate my appreciation and gratitude for all that God has provided for me. In a Catholic school, I am able to take my values and freely teach and encourage the same of the students and faculty,” Corrigan said. “I want to be in a position where I can positively affect families, students, and educators to the best of my abilities. The Catholic school environment allows me to fully embrace my faith and pass the joy of the Gospel along to those I teach and collaborate with freely. I am committed to the mission and philosophy of Catholic education and look forward to faithfully leading the community in social, spiritual, and academic success.”
Taylor Baker has been named the new principal at St. Ambrose Catholic School in Cheverly, Maryland. Baker has taught second-grade at St. Ambrose since 2012, and most recently served there as the interim principal.
She holds a bachelor of science degree in elementary education from Winston-Salem State University and a master of education degree in curriculum and instruction from Trinity College. Baker is a product of the Archdiocese of Washington’s Catholic schools, having attended St. Anthony School in Washington and Bishop McNamara High School in Forestville, Maryland.
“As a graduate of a Catholic high school and attending a state university in North Carolina, I was able to see the difference in educational standards and expectations set for us. The moral foundation and core values were different for people,” Baker said. “As a result, I want to serve the Church because I want to teach and model morals and values. I want to be able to speak freely about my faith in the workplace. Serving the Church is a vocation that only a few people are called to do in their life. I believe I have been called by God to serve the Church, and I have answered the call.”
Deanna Johnson is the new principal of St. Philip the Apostle Catholic School in Camp Springs, Maryland. From 2010 until 2019, she served at Bishop McNamara High School in Forestville as a Spanish teacher, dean of students, director of admissions and administrator of its After School Program. Last year, she served as interim principal at St. Philip the Apostle School.
She earned a master of arts degree in secondary education from the University of Phoenix, as well as a bachelor of arts degree in political science from Rutgers, the state university of New Jersey.
“My deep and abiding love of Christ and understanding of His love and sacrifice for us has given me the desire and the will to bring that same love and understanding to the children in my care,” Johnson said. “All children deserve to know the love of Christ and to be nurtured in His love. I truly believe that I have been called to this vocation. With the education and experience I have received as a Catholic teacher and administrator, I feel confident in my abilities to be a successful spiritual and instructional leader of a Catholic elementary school.”
Tiffani James is the new principal of St. Mary of the Mills School in Laurel, Maryland. Prior to joining the Archdiocese of Washington, she was involved in instructional leadership and curriculum development in the Howard County and Chapel Hill-Carrboro school systems.
James, who holds a master of science degree in education with a concentration in reading, was honored by the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development as an exemplary teacher and was made the subject of an instructional video on literacy instruction.
At St. Mary’s, she served on several school leadership teams and academic committees. She then accepted the position of principal at St. Hugh Catholic School in Greenbelt, Maryland, serving there for two years and leading the school in merging with St. Joseph’s Regional Catholic School in Beltsville. After the merger, James returned to St. Mary’s, teaching middle school religion. She then served for two years as an assistant principal for academics at Don Bosco Cristo Rey High School in Takoma Park, Maryland, and returned to St. Mary's in 2016.
Doreen Engel is the new interim principal at Our Lady of Mercy School in Potomac, Maryland. She previously served as director of special education in the Archdiocese of Washington’s Catholic Schools Office until 2012, when she moved to Rhode Island to care for her father. While there, she took on the position of principal of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Academy and then taught St. Raphael Academy, a local high school. She also taught virtually and consulted via The Andrew M. Greeley Center for Catholic Education at Loyola University Chicago.
Her father died on Mother’s Day at the age of 101.
“Mercy is a school that I have known well for many years, and I felt it was a privilege to be of service at this critical time in Catholic education,” she said. “I feel that caring for my father alone during the pandemic was one of the most challenging and yet most rewarding experiences of my life. I learned to rely on God in new ways that I will now carry with me in my work with the families, faculty and staff of Mercy. I feel truly blessed to be here at this beautiful parish and school.”