Interim Principal Matt Schultz Grateful for Opportunity to Serve

Elizabeth Bolin, Staff Writer, Advanced Journalsim

Last year was a whirlwind of administrative change at Notre Dame Academy. With the departure of Principal John Ravizza, many students and parents alike were concerned about who would take over after his departure.

After much deliberation, the board and search committee selected a replacement who is scheduled to start at second semester. Filling in as ‘interim’ principal for the first semester of this school year is The Academy’s popular and respected history teacher and IB coordinator, Matt Schultz.

Schultz confesses he’s not entirely sure why he was chosen, but has a few different ideas. As the IB coordinator his is a “quasi-administrative position” with many duties, including partial responsibility for the master schedule of classes. Not only this, but a few years back Schultz was chosen to be the Dean of Students when the Academy was searching for a new principal, so past experience could have played a factor in his selection.

“Lastly, and this is just speculation, I was slated to teach only three classes, so it was seemingly easier to find a replacement for me in the classroom rather than another full-time teacher,” said the acting principal.

Some people may wonder what authority an ‘interim’ principal may have and Schultz explains that it’s basically the same as any principal.

“I have the responsibility of assuring the academic standards of NDA have been met. I also am responsible for hiring teachers, developing faculty in-service agendas, allocating professional development funds, approving schedule requests and leading groups like the department chairs,” he explained.

Schultz does not see his role as the interim as a way to create new things or insert his own agenda.

“I want to help maintain normalcy and help set up things for the incoming principal. My goal is to have Mr. Browne (Patrick Browne, the new principal) come in and be able to start working like he has been the entire year.”

Browne and Schultz maintain regular communication to ensure that this is possible. “I hope that he will be able to hit the ground running,” said Schultz.

Schultz has also remained the IB coordinator during his tenure as principal. He has had help from teachers like Ms. Mahlock and shares that the routine has become easier as time has progressed.

With great power comes great responsibility and Schultz admits that there are many challenges that come along with the role.

“The most difficult thing for me is to have to say no to requests from parents or teachers. I like to please people so part of the challenge is justifying my decisions when I have to deny a request.”

Schultz has had to balance all of his responsibilities as IB coordinator and interim principal which can be difficult. It has also been a hard transition to an administrative position from a faculty member.

“I am still a faculty member,” he said,  “and I see myself as an equal to the faculty, not superior, which makes it hard to make decisions that impact the faculty.”

There have been some blessings to come of this, however.

“I do think this has provided some real opportunity to provide collaboration between the principal’s office and the faculty,” Schultz explained.  

Then he said, “I just want to add that I am grateful for this opportunity to be able to help NDA at a time in need and that the administration has confidence in me to do this job. I hope to provide the best for all stakeholders at NDA because I believe in Notre Dame Academy and everyone deserves the best.”