James Meredith has been named the first lay principal of Nazareth Academy High School, replacing Sister Rita Fanning.
Sister Marcella Louise Wallowicz, vice chairwoman of the Board of Trustees, said, “While some may grieve that there is no longer a (Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth) principal, appointing a lay principal celebrates the vision of our Foundress in inviting lay people to collaborate with us in the leadership and mission of our institutions. The Good News of Nazareth was not meant for us to keep to ourselves but to share it with others. Our new leadership team has the vision and skills needed to expertly guide Nazareth Academy through the complex educational and fiscal challenges of the 21st century.”
Sister Virginette Rypniewski, board chairwoman said, that “uniting their efforts in this joint endeavor, Mr. Meredith, principal, and Mrs. (Denise) LePera, president, will forge ahead to strengthen and enhance the overall educational experience, the result of which will be young women prepared to take their place as our leaders of the future.”
Meredith will lead the aspects of academics, guidance, athletics and student life while LePera will continue to oversee the operational side of marketing, development, advancement, admissions and finance.
“Nazareth Academy High School has led young women to develop their potential academically, spiritually and personally through a foundation of strong faith, rigorous academics and a focus on family for nearly 90 years,” Meredith said. “It is both an awesome responsibility and an exciting opportunity to be a part of this significant endeavor. I look forward to working with the Nazareth family and continuing this tremendous mission while focusing on growth for the future. I want to acknowledge Sister Rita Fanning, whose exemplary leadership, devotion to the students, teachers, staff and community and commitment to the mission of Nazareth moved this school forward. I am also grateful to her for her invaluable service to the school community and assistance to me personally during this transition.”
Meredith holds a master’s in Education Leadership from Cabrini University and a bachelor’s from DeSales University. He serves as assistant superintendent for secondary schools for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.
Over his 21-year career, Meredith also served as principal at Pope John Paul II and Archbishop Ryan high schools.
Meredith was named an inaugural Neubauer Fellow in Educational Leadership for high-performing principals in Philadelphia. This fellowship afforded Meredith the opportunity to work with educational and business leaders across the Philadelphia area in a setting he described as “the most impactful professional development for my work as a school leader in my entire career.”
Meredith and his wife, Kate, have five daughters and live in St. Cecilia Parish. He is a member of the Knights of Columbus and serves on the St. Katherine of Siena School Board of Limited Jurisdiction and the St. Cecilia School Principal’s Advisory Board. ••