July 15, 2021
Dear Parents/Guardians of the Kennedy Catholic Family of Schools:
As the chair of the board of directors for the Shenango Valley Catholic School System, I am writing to let you know that Mr. Mark Ferrara resigned as president, effective June 30. We thank him for his service and appreciate the progress he was able to make during this difficult year.
Although we have seen more change in leadership than usual over the last several years, I am very pleased to announce that Mrs. Melissa D’Amore Joseph has been appointed as the new president of the Kennedy Catholic Family of Schools. I have every confidence that the abilities and passion Mrs. Joseph brings to the job will allow her to build upon the successes we have been experiencing.
“I believe very strongly that Kennedy is in need of continuity and consistency in our administration if we are going to thrive and continue to provide a meaningful and rigorous learning environment for our students,” Mrs. Joseph wrote, when accepting the Board’s nomination. Many of you know her for her longtime service on the Shenango Valley Catholic School System Board. In addition to her significant professional experience in business administration, she has been an active volunteer at St. John Paul II Elementary, and served as chair of the Mission Enhancement Committee, working to identify areas of need and promote the schools’ Catholic identity. She also played a key role with the Kennedy Catholic Advancement and Finance Departments to initiate the Nest Fund for Teacher Development and Retention.
“Melissa’s work in strategic planning and advancement will serve us well,” said Mr. Jim Gallagher, superintendent of Catholic schools for the Diocese of Erie. “But I also am deeply impressed with her quiet strength and commitment to Catholic education. She will be a true asset to the system.” Mrs. Joseph will focus on strategic planning and advancement, also working closely with Mr. Bill Blum, who will become director of operations.
Melissa is intimately familiar with our school system and has served in multiple capacities to better our student experience. Additionally, she is an alum and is well acquainted with the talented people and resources of the Shenango Valley. We have great confidence in Mrs. Joseph’s ability to lead in this capacity and are prepared to support her, and all of the administration, during this time of transition. Mr. Gallagher will continue to provide support from the Catholic Schools Office (CSO), working collaboratively with Kennedy Catholic Family of Schools during this transition.
I realize that this is an unexpected change, but I want to assure you that Bishop Persico, the CSO, and the board of directors are fully committed to the success of this school system. I am asking you to support Mrs. Joseph as she works to ensure a smooth transition, especially in the coming weeks.
On behalf of the board of directors for the Shenango Valley Catholic School System, I would like to thank you for your trust and support during this extraordinarily challenging year. We are well aware of the sacrifices you make to choose Catholic education, and we want to extend our deepest gratitude to each of you as we look forward to a bright and vibrant future.
Chair, Board of Directors
Shenango Valley Catholic School System