UPDATE: St. Anne-Pacelli high school principal explains leadership change

St. Anne-Pacelli Catholic School will have a new principal for its high school next school year.

Kristin Turner, who has been principal since 2009, will return to her position as high school counselor at the end of this school year, the Rev. Jeremiah McCarthy, pastor of St. Anne Catholic Church, said in a news release.

“We thank Mrs. Turner for her dedication and sincere commitment to the students, faculty and staff at St. Anne Pacelli Catholic School,” McCarthy said in the release. “During her tenure as principal, Mrs. Turner has accomplished many things, including raising the school’s academic standards, increasing student enrollment and supporting a commitment to Catholic education. We are grateful she will remain a part of the Viking family and know she will continue to inspire students to achieve academic excellence.”

A search committee will be established to help hire Turner’s successor, the release said. No explanation was given in the release for the personnel move, and the Ledger-Enquirer didn’t reach McCarthy for comment, but Turner said in a telephone interview Tuesday that it was a collective decision.

“Now is a good time for me to go back to my role as a high school counselor, which I love, and continue to serve the mission of the school,” she said.

Ten years ago, Turner said, the Rev. J. Gerard Schreck, then St. Anne’s pastor, asked her to take on the principalship after being high school counselor for three years.

“He had some goals for me to accomplish,” she said, “and I feel that I accomplished those goals.”

They include, Turner said:

Increased enrollment from approximately 130 to more than 200.

Quadrupled the number of eighth-graders who stay in the Catholic school for ninth grade.

More than doubled the number of students earning a 3 or higher on Advanced Placement exams.

Exceeded the state and national average scores on college entrance exams.

Earned a total of nearly $10 million in college scholarships the past seven years.

Turner said she prayed about the decision and feels blessed to be able to remain “in service to the school and Catholic education.” She welcomes the opportunity for “someone with fresh perspective to come in and move us forward.”

Mark Rice, 706-576-6272. Follow Mark on Twitter@MarkRiceLE.