A transition in leadership at Bishop LeBlond High School is in place, effective Wednesday morning.
According to outgoing principal Jeff Sullivan, his replacement, Ann Lachowitzer, finds herself as the incoming leader of the only Roman Catholic diocesan high school in Northwest Missouri, outside of the immediate Kansas City area. In January, the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph announced Sullivan would step down at the end of June, and named Lachowitzer to the position. Sullivan has served for five years as LeBlond principal.
As part of her new role, Lachowitzer has been indirectly involved with a committee, convened by Bishop James V. Johnston Jr., to shape the coming fall semester and the precautions necessitated by COVID-19.
“I am so excited to be a part of a great community that supports Catholic education,” Lachowitzer said in a previous public statement. “LeBlond will be my new home. Go Eagles!”
The committee has not yet made a final decision as to the date and manner in which the fall semester will begin. However, according to Fr. Ken Riley, interim diocesan spokesperson and priest-in-residence, Catholic education leaders have committed — based on what is known today about the pandemic — to a restoration by some means of in-person education at all diocesan schools this fall. The circumstances are anticipated to change over time.
Matters yet to be decided pertain to how long students can be present in the buildings each day and how often sanitization will be needed, among others. Catholic education leaders discussed these questions with involved employees and consultants for some hours on Tuesday at a meeting in Kansas City, Missouri.
Sullivan is not part of the committee, but has been aware that across the local Catholic school system, online education is seen as an absolute last resort for the coming term.
“We know it’s not the same thing as learning naturally,” he said. “With Catholic schoolchildren, where we base our education on our faith and our family feel, you can’t get that through a computer. So that’s why we’re doing everything we can to get kids in the building.”