Rachael Casey, the principal of St. Thomas More Academy in Magnolia, will join the administrative team and faculty at Saint Mark’s High School beginning in July, Saint Mark’s announced this week. Casey will serve as the director of academic partnerships and teach in the theology department.
As the director of academic partnerships, she “will focus on developing and expanding partnerships between Saint Mark’s and local and regional universities, colleges, trade schools, [and] chambers of commerce, as well as private and public industries and organizations,” according to the school. That will maximize educational opportunities for the students.
Saint Mark’s principal Thomas Fertal said schools talk about partnerships and getting their students opportunities outside the building, and Casey’s job will be to oversee that.
“We’re going to put an investment there with a staff person to make those things happen. We have someone who is embracing that idea and is looking forward to being out there to make connections for our students on behalf of Saint Mark’s,” he said.
Fertal said he has a vision of what the role will entail, but it will continue to evolve after Casey arrives in July. He said Casey is not afraid to take broad guidelines and a concept and build from there.
Casey has been at St. Thomas More for 13 years as a teacher and administrator. The school is closing at the end of June because of dwindling enrollment and financial burdens. She said she will approach her new position as a way to extend the Saint Mark’s education beyond the building’s walls. She envisions working on partnerships with colleges, businesses, alumni and area elementary schools.
“To be able to think in how we can support the academic programs that are going on with our grade schools is exciting, too,” she said.
She sees Saint Mark’s as a place of community for Catholic educators in the diocese since the spirituality day for teachers and administrators is held there each August.
“I have made some good relationships with administrators and some of the staff there over the years. I think they are in it for the same reason that I am, and it’s the same philosophy and mission,” Casey said. “I’m excited to be part of a team like Saint Mark’s. They have a forward-looking eye for Catholic education.”
Fertal said Casey was on the search committee that recommended him for the Saint Mark’s post, and he had an opportunity to tour St. Thomas More last summer. During that visit, he said, “it was clear … that we shared a vision of what Catholic education is and what a Catholic school should be, and the modern challenges. There was no doubt that we were kindred spirits in that regard.”
He was disappointed to hear that St. Thomas More was going to close, but immediately, his thought turned to bringing Casey into the fold at Saint Mark’s. Casey is a native of Richboro, Pa., and a graduate of the University of Delaware. She said about a dozen students from St. Thomas More will be attending Saint Mark’s in the fall.
St. Thomas More opened in 1998 after a group of parents and other boosters worked for a decade to bring a Catholic high school to central Delaware following the closure of Holy Cross High School in the late 1980s.