By Maureen Smith
JACKSON – Some familiar faces will be taking on new roles at three diocesan elementary schools when the new year starts the second week of August. Vicksburg Catholic, Meridian St. Patrick and Madison St. Anthony schools all have new administrators this year. Jules Michel, an education veteran in the Diocese of Jackson, will take on the role as principal in Vicksburg for one year. Julie Bordelon, formerly principal at St. Patrick will be principal at St. Anthony for a year while Jennifer David, formerly a teacher at Columbus Annunciation will become the principal at St. Patrick.
Michel retired in 2012 and Bordelon resigned this year. Both were available and agreed to serve a one year term to provide the school communities in Vicksburg and Madison the time to conduct a proper search for a long-term administrator.
“The process of finding the right administrator is not one we take lightly,” said Catherine Cook, superintendent of schools for the diocese. In order to find a new permanent administrator, each school community will form a search committee that will include the school’s pastor or canonical administrator and representatives from parish and school communities including members of the school advisory council. This committee will obtain information from the school stakeholders relative to the unique needs of the school and the qualities desired for a new principal. The committee will help determine a strategy for advertising the opening.
Once applicants are approved by the superintendent, the committee reviews applications, conducts interviews and recommends the candidate that best fits the needs of the individual school.
Michel has attended or been an administrator in three of the four high schools in the diocese. He graduated from Madison St. Joseph School, was principal at Greenville St. Joseph High school and was the administrator of Natchez Cathedral School. His last assignment in the diocese was as principal of Jackson St. Richard School.
Michel holds a bachelor’s degree from Mississippi State University, a master’s in school administration from Delta State and has done post graduate work at the University of Tennessee and Spring Hill College.
He started teaching in 1969. During his time in Natchez he was part of the team that built new additions to the school and began a development office. Under his administration at St. Richard the school underwent a $3 million dollar renovation of the facilities. He served for eight years as the National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA) region V representative for secondary education and was part of the national principals’ retreat team. He was president of the Mississippi chapter for Supervision and Curriculum Development.
Michel also served as chairman of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) Mississippi secondary committee and national representative for Non Public schools in the accrediting agency. He has served on numerous educational and evaluation committees.
Bordelon holds a bachelor’s of science in elementary education and a master’s in educational leadership from Mississippi State University and has been in education since 1986. She has worked in Tampa and Meridian teaching kindergarten and sixth grade until becoming principal of St. Patrick in 2000. While she was principal she led the first annual appeal for the school, which generated
$151,000. She also helped with a $1.4 million capital campaign to build a new facility and started the first trust fund for the school. Bordelon started a development office and helped launch a marketing campaign for the school resulting in an 80 percent increase in enrollment. She is a member of NCEA and the Association for Supervision and Curriculum development.
The advisory council at St. Anthony hosted a meet and greet event for Bordelon Sunday, July 13, at the school. Families crowded the school’s reception area to get a chance to welcome their new principal.
David received her bachelor’s from the Mississippi University for Women and her master’s in education from Marymount University in Arlington, Va. She attended St. Mary School, now known as Columbus Annunciation, and started teaching first grade there in 1996. She went on to teach fifth and sixth grade as well as becoming the assistant principal. She helped establish the middle school at Annunciation and taught math and science to sixth-eighth graders.
“I am so excited to be the new principal at St. Patrick Catholic School, a school well-known in the community for high academic standards and Christian values. Like St. Patrick’s students, I was fortunate to get my start in Catholic schools, giving me a solid foundation for life,” said David. “I cannot wait to meet each and every member of our St. Patrick school family in the coming weeks. Together, we are going to have a great year,” she added.
Father Frank Cosgrove, pastor for the Catholic community of Meridian said he and the community are very excited to welcome David.
“She went to Catholic school herself, and that’s important. She also got her graduate degree from a Catholic university,” said Father Cosgrove. He said he and the search committee were very pleased when they found her.
“We really believe she will help St. Patrick continue to provide the highest academic standards rooted in a deep Catholic identity. We always say St. Patrick is not just a ‘private’ school, it’s a Catholic school, and that is very important to us,” he added.
(Editor’s note: find related back to school content in the bishop’s column on pages 3 and 11 and on page 14)