St. Agnes Academy Names New Principal

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DALTON, Mass. — St. Agnes Academy has announced the appointment of Fadia Rostom Makdisi of Pittsfield as principal, replacing long-time educator James Stankiewicz, effective July 1.

The Rev. Christopher Malatesta, pastor of St. Agnes Church, made the appointment while also reaffirming his unwavering commitment to the academy. He also announced the formation of an Executive Leadership Council, a group of experienced educators charged with the goal of growing the academy while maintaining high academic expectations and Catholic values and traditions.

A search committee selected Makdisi from a field of highly competitive candidates in a regional search.

"We are confident we have the perfect candidate in Fadia, who will bring a high level of energy and commitment to our church and academy and work well with our teachers, Executive Leadership Council, parents, and students," Malatesta said. "Under Fadia’s leadership, we will continue to seek new and creative ways to boost enrollment, secure a strong financial base, and grow in the years to come."

Makdisi will have oversight for school culture and the Catholic School mission and will run the development efforts of the Academy. She will be responsible for budget planning, communications and discipline and will represent the academy on a Diocesan level, working with the superintendent of Schools to grow the academy. Other key duties include scheduling, hiring, compliance, and community outreach. She will collaborate with the Executive Leadership Council to meet and exceed the expectations of parents in regards to academics.

"I am thrilled to be joining St. Agnes Academy and working with such an experienced group of educators, whose energy and commitment to faith, life learning, and academic excellence is boundless," Makdisi said. "I look forward to building on the strong foundation left by Jim Stankiewicz and exploring new ways to expand the St. Agnes mission."

Makdisi is a collaborative and innovative educator with over 15 years of experience in public and private educational systems. She is a graduate of Damascus University and MCLA and has taught in the computer technology department at Damascus University. Currently, she works in the Pittsfield and Central Berkshire Regional School systems.

"Her background and experiences enable her to integrate technologies and a personal approach to enhance teaching and learning in both classroom subjects and life skills," Malatesta said.

Makdisi is married and has three daughters who all attend St. Agnes. Along with Makdisi and Rev. Malatesta, the Executive Leadership Council will include current faculty members Karen Blefari and Theresa Dudziak as deans of Academics and Curriculum. Blefari, who has 42 years of experience in elementary and early childhood education, will be responsible for early childhood and elementary programs, while Dudziak, a former St. Agnes principal with 32 years of service, will oversee the middle school program.

The council also includes Katherine Flanders, an experienced teacher, who will serve as director of enrichment. She will provide tailored and well-planned enrichment opportunities for St. Agnes students.

St. Agnes Academy, founded in 1957, currently has an enrollment of 145 students in preschool through grade eight.

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