By John Surratt
Vicksburg – Catholic Schools have announced the promotion of Karla McHan to principal of St. Aloysius beginning with the 2019-2020 school year, and Lori Tzotzolas to director of the Vicksburg Catholic Schools Early Learning Center, which opens in 2019.
McHan and Tzotzolas are Vicksburg natives with experience teaching in the Vicksburg Warren School District and at Vicksburg Catholic Schools.
McHan has a bachelor’s degree in education from Mississippi College and master’s in educational leadership from William Carey University.
She taught in the social studies for 22 years in the Vicksburg Warren School District. She taught 11th grade American History at Warren Central High School, and served as a department chairman and then as lead teacher.
She taught social studies and theology at St. Aloysius. She will still teach theology in her role as assistant principal.
McHan will serve as assistant principal to Dr. Virgil Strickland, the current principal, this school year.
“Administratively, I will be working in collaboration with him on the day-to-day operations, student discipline, professional development curriculum; just a little bit of everything,” she said.
“I’m very excited and humbled,” she said of the promotion, “But very excited.
“It’s a big change, but it’s (St. Aloysius) a good place to be. I kind of felt like I came home when I got to St. Aloysius; it was a good fit for me. I am a Catholic and I really love my faith and my church, and I have a great passion for education, so this was a really good way to combine those two.
“I’m excited about what the future holds for the school and the students and for myself as well.”
She is married to David McHan and they have three children. They attend St. Michael Parish.
Tzotzolas has a bachelor’s degree in education from Mississippi State University and a master’s of education in administration and supervision with an endorsement in Catholic school leadership from Marymount University.
She is married to Lester Tzotzolas and they have two children. They attend St. George Orthodox Church.
When she learned of her promotion, she said, “ I was surprised and honored and a little bit nervous, because it is a new position and a new building we are building from the ground up. We’re very, very blessed.”
Tzotzolas was a classroom teacher for seven years in the Vicksburg Warren School District, teaching fifth and third grades at Beechwood Elementary. She also taught at Warrenton Elementary and Dana Road Elementary.
She has spent the past 17 years as a classroom teacher and lead teacher at St. Francis Xavier, teaching fifth grade, and has taught kindergarten for the past 11 years. She will teach sixth grade this school year while also spending time working on preparations for the Early Learning Center, which will accept children from ages 6 weeks old to 3.
Tzotzolas will work with the Vicksburg Catholic School Development Office to continue raising funds for the early learning center. She will also work with the project architect and Mississippi Department of Health to ensure the center meets all the requirements to open in 2019.
“We work with the diocese in everything we do,” she said. “We are under their umbrella. They have to approve all of the necessary things here at our school.”
She said the school administration has given her time during the school day to work on the center.
“I certainly will not be taken away from my students,” she said. “I will be in the classroom when I need to be in the classroom, but I will have certain time during planning time or times when other teachers are teaching other subject areas where I can come out of the classroom and attend to the administrative duties I need to attend to.”
She said the design for the new building is ready, with groundbreaking expected early in the fall.
“I’m very excited, just to know I can build something from the ground up, and I absolutely have a team of skilled people who will be working alongside of me,” she said. “I will be supervising, so we will be making sure we have the best teachers to teach those students and understand their needs in the classroom.”
(Reprinted with permission from the Vicksburg Post.)