The Tablet Staff
MIDTOWN — The Archdiocese of New York announced Monday, March 27, that it has hired Sister Mary Grace Walsh, ASCJ, as its new superintendent of schools, effective when current superintendent Michael Deegan retires at the end of the academic year after decades of service.
Cardinal Timothy Dolan made the announcement, saying that Sister Mary Grace has been a teacher and principal in the archdiocese and received her doctorate in educational administration/church leadership from Fordham University.
Sister Mary Grace is currently president of Cor Jesu Academy in St. Louis and a member of the board of directors of the National Catholic Educational Association.
She has been provost for education, evangelization, and catechesis for the Archdiocese of Hartford and superintendent of schools and secretary of education and faith formation for the Diocese of Bridgeport.
Sister Mary Grace told The Tablet a priority for her will be listening to the leaders in the archdiocese, the current administration, and the schools and familiarizing herself with their work, their challenges, and their hopes.
In his statement, Cardinal Dolan mentioned the challenges facing Catholic schools in the archdiocese. He noted the recent announcement that 12 schools will close at the end of the school year, and four more will be merged into two schools.
“I am committed to Catholic education and to having schools that are both vibrant and viable as centers of evangelization and academics,” Sister Mary Grace said. “Sometimes this means making difficult decisions for the sake of that mission and I am willing to listen to and work with all those who believe in this mission.”
This is not Sister Mary Grace’s first time in New York City. She was born and raised in Connecticut and is a Fordham University graduate, as well as a Catholic school principal in the archdiocese on 9/11. She says of her time after the attack, “There were so many lessons we all learned on that tragic day and in its aftermath.”
“The great value of Catholic schools in helping our young people to process the shock and grief,” she said. Sister Mary Grace also pointed to how “resilient our educators were in the aftermath” who continued to teach throughout the day for the sake of their students.