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Bishop O’Connell President Announces Resignation

By ARLnow.com

Monday - 2/11/2013, 7:25pm  ET

Katy Prebble (photo via Bishop O'Connell High School)Bishop O’Connell High School President Katy Prebble has announced that she will resign at the end of the school year, after three years on the job.

Parents and students at the private Catholic institution, in Arlington’s East Falls Church neighborhood, were informed of the resignation this afternoon. Prebble is leaving to take another job outside of the Catholic Diocese of Arlington, diocese spokesman Michael Donohue told ARLnow.com.

Student comments about Bishop O'Connell President Katy Prebble's resignation (via Twitter)Prebble, a 1974 Catholic University graduate, joined O’Connell in 2010 after serving as president of a college preparatory school in Georgia. Barry Breen, O’Connell’s president before Prebble, resigned after five years.

The diocese says it will begin a search for a new president “soon,” although a final decision has not yet been made about whether to keep the current leadership structure of the school, which includes both a president and a school principal.

On Twitter, Bishop O’Connell students seemed pleased with Prebble’s resignation. One called it “a graduation present to the Class of 2013.”

Another said the resignation was “better late than never,” while referencing a controversial decision last year to fire John Harrison, a beloved social studies teacher.

Prebble sent the following letter to parents at 3:15 p.m. today (Monday).

Dear Bishop O’Connell Community,

I write to you today to inform you that I will be leaving Bishop O’Connell in June 2013. It has been my distinct privilege to serve as the school’s president since July 2010. The 1,200 students who grace the halls of our school every day are a remarkable and diverse group of young men and women eager to establish themselves as the leaders of tomorrow. I will miss them dearly as well as the dedicated faculty and staff who work incredibly hard to guide them through these wonderful and exciting high school years.

With the completion of the renovation of our athletic fields and two new chemistry labs, as well as the plans to complete several more labs this summer, Bishop O’Connell is strategically positioned to offer a first class facility for students for years to come.

I am enthusiastic about our work with our new Strategic Plan and our initial efforts to create a Facility Master Site Plan. The next few months will be busy as we work diligently to strengthen our Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) program and plan the addition of our second engineering course. Our STEM curriculum continues to grow, and O’Connell is set to become one of only two private high schools in the greater Washington DC area to offer a Project Lead the Way school curriculum in engineering.

I have been inspired by O’Connell’s spirit and traditions and am a better person for being guided by the IHM Sisters. Many of you may know that years ago Mother Teresa visited O’Connell and spoke to our students. Her message of love and compassion continues to fill the heart of our community. I will faithfully serve our community over the next few months and wish only the best for O’Connell. It is always a great day to be a Knight.

Faithfully yours,

Katy Prebble

In a letter, Diocese of Arlington Superintendent of Schools Sister Bernadette McManigal said Prebble “has served the school, the Diocese and Catholic Education well.”

A long list of accomplishments are directly attributable to Katy’s leadership. The most visible examples include remodeled science labs, the addition of a global studies program, attractive and safe athletic fields, dual enrollment courses with Marymount, new seats in the school auditorium and the addition of pre-engineering courses in the curriculum. An impressive list! Katy was tireless in her zeal for the students and faculty at Bishop O’Connell High School.

Bishop Paul S. Loverde joins me in thanking Katy for her service and in wishing her well in her next endeavors. We will miss her.