WILMINGTON – When Terre Taylor accepted the position of principal of the upper school at St. Elizabeth School, she added one more Catholic school connection to her family’s resume.
The Alessandrini family is most commonly associated with St. Mark’s High School. Taylor is a 1987 graduate and was a teacher and assistant principal there for more than 20 years before leaving two years ago. Her father, Gene, was a longtime assistant principal, and mom Evie was on the faculty for years. Her siblings and numerous nieces and nephews were all Spartans.
But Gene Alessandrini graduated from Salesianum and taught at Corpus Christi. Evie taught at Christ the Teacher, Holy Angels and St. Thomas More. Taylor attended St. Matthew’s School before St. Mark’s.
Beginning with the first day of school Aug. 24, she adds maroon and gold to the family’s Catholic school tree. Taylor returned to Catholic education after a few years away and is excited about becoming a member of the “VK Nation.”
“I just feel like it was a great opportunity. I think they have a great vision of where they want to go for the future. I said, ‘You know what, I’m going to give it a try,’ and the more I came in and talked to people during interviews, I just felt like it would be a good fit for me,” she said.
Taylor, a three-sport athlete at St. Mark’s and a big sports fan, went to work for the Delaware Interscholastic Athletics Association two years ago. She missed the day-to-day interaction with students but believed that would go away over time. That didn’t happen.
“I knew if I went back into education, I would go back into Catholic schools. I just kept my eyes and ears open to what was out there,” she said.
What struck her over the summer was how dedicated students and faculty are to St. Elizabeth. Several students dropped in to say hello, and faculty members have been around getting their classrooms ready to go.
Taylor has been a sponge, learning as much as she can about the culture and how things are done. She has given her input and asked a lot of questions. The staff has welcomed her in and answered all of her queries.
She will be in charge of the seventh grade through high school after St. Elizabeth adopted a lower- and upper-school model a few years ago. They are still working through that transition, and Taylor said they want to make sure the seventh- and eighth-graders feel like they are part of the upper school without losing their connection to the lower grades.
She plans on doing a lot of listening, but, she adds, “we can’t have a standstill year. We have to keep moving, but we’re going to respect the traditions that are here.”
Taylor replaces longtime principal Shirley Bounds, who retired in June after 14 years in the top job.
One plus about the move to Wilmington is that Taylor will have her 9-year-old twins, Will and Allie, with her during the commute from Middletown. They are going into fourth grade. As they get older and more involved in extracurricular activities, she will be able to spend more time with them.
Two years in Dover should make the transition to St. Elizabeth easier, Taylor said, although she cannot forget her academic roots.
“St. Mark’s is always going to be an important part of my life. It’s part of who I am. I got a lot of experience there. I learned a lot of lessons there. All that has brought me to this place. I’ll always be a Spartan, but now we’re going to be Vikings, too. Nothing wrong with that.”