Pacelli dismisses principal, looks to new hire

Pacelli Catholic Schools students can expect to see a new face in the principal’s office this fall.

At a June 8 meeting, the Pacelli Board of Trustees decided not to renew president and principal Lori Walz’s contract for another year. Trustee Steve King declined to give details Monday as to why the decision was made, but said the board was looking to fill the position soon.

Walz declined comment. She was hired at Pacelli in July 2012 after the previous president of the school, Joseph Steepleton, retired from the district. Before coming to Austin, Walz was principal at Saint Joseph Catholic School in Ogden, Utah, and had also worked at Cotter High School in Winona, Minn.

The board expects to hire a new president soon, and could have a decision by the end of the week, King said.

“There’s been some movement, but nothing official,” he said of the hiring effort, adding that the candidate selected would ideally start immediately.

The new president will be the fourth Pacelli has had in three years. Steepleton replaced Mary Holtorf in August 2011, and Holtorf became vice principal and elementary principal.

The school employs its teachers and administrators on one-year contracts, and the board of trustees chooses whether to renew the contracts. Frs. Steffes and Tupper, both trustees on the board, did not return calls for comment.

King said Pacelli is looking forward to the new school year, adding that the change in presidents should not interfere with the operations of the school.

“It shouldn’t affect any calendar events along the school year,” he said.

Apart from Walz, Pacelli’s staff should be about the same moving forward, King said.

“All the existing teachers have been offered contracts,” he said.

 

—Trey Mewes contributed to this report.

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