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Stephen Adams keeps Mercy charism in mind as new principal at Christ the Teacher Catholic School

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Stephen Adams

GLASGOW — For the first time since before it opened in 2002, Christ the Teacher Catholic School will have a new principal. But Stephen Adams, who succeeds Mercy Sister LaVerne King, is no stranger to Catholic schools in general and Christ the Teacher in particular.

Adams was the assistant principal for five years before assuming the top spot. He was very visible in that role, so the school families already know him. He is looking forward to the challenge of being the leader after serving as the assistant principal there and at All Saints Catholic School in Elsmere, which closed in June.

“I have the advantage of having been here for five years,” he said. “I’ve seen the school. I know the students, the parents and the faculty well. I’ve seen us through growing and a new building and expanding.”

Sister LaVerne and the other Mercy Sisters who were part of the school for the past two decades may be gone, but their influence and charism are alive and well, Adams said. That mission is a big part of the school, and he will make his decisions with that in mind.

His first year will begin with students attending in a hybrid model, which means some of his plans have to be put on hold. Christ the Teacher is the diocese’s largest elementary school, with enrollment hovering around 600 and four sponsoring parishes. Adams said the school is in a good situation.

“The school’s in great shape. The facility’s great. The location for families in Delaware and Maryland is awesome. We’re fortunate and we’re blessed that we have a high enrollment, but we work hard. Our admissions director works really hard to retain families and to keep families with us, and also recruits new families.”

An addition with a gymnasium and more classrooms opened last year. One project that received attention over the summer was the “repurposing” of the old gym into a multipurpose room. The basketball hoops and bleachers are gone, and the floor has been replaced. Adams said they will work to create more classroom space and to make class sizes more consistent.

As far as the curriculum goes, the school’s math materials are likely to be revised. Adams said they are studying their standardized test results to determine which programs would be best. No matter what changes are made to the classroom materials, there is an overriding objective.

“Our goal is always to utilize technology with all of our curriculum programs because that is what (the students) are going to be faced with in the real world,” he said.

He also wants to make Christ the Teacher a three-time national Blue Ribbon school. It will be eligible again in 2022.

Adams is a Wilmington native, baptized at Corpus Christi Church. He grew up in the Pike Creek area and attended St. Anthony of Padua and Salesianum schools. He graduated from Salesianum in 2002. After graduating from the University of Delaware, he went back to Catholic education. He taught for a year at St. Helena School in Bellefonte before going to Holy Angels in Newark and then on to All Saints.

He likes to read and travel in his free time. He is also involved in music ministry at his parish, Holy Angels. In fact, he has been the director of music ministry at the church for the past 11 years but will step down from that role at the end of August.

He expects that his face time with students and parents will remain similar to what it was as assistant principal, and he said his new assistant, Kathy Lee, will be there as well. He also said it is up to everyone at Christ the Teacher to keep the Mercy spirit alive and well.

“It’s tough when a school loses the religious life in the school. It’s up to me, but it’s up to everyone — the parents, the students and the faculty — to keep alive the Mercy mission of the school.”