SJNRA announces new principal

SJNRA announces new principal

After 20 years standing in front of white boards in the classrooms of St. John Neumann Regional Academy, Alisia McNamee is now behind the principal’s desk. As of Aug. 5, McNamee has been serving as the new principal for both campuses of St. John Neumann Regional Academy’s school system.

Going into the new school year, McNamee’s first goal is to let the students know St. John Neumann’s is their school and to create a positive environment.

She is doing this by “teaching them Neumann PRIDE,” she said. PRIDE stands for Perseverance, Respect, Independence, Determination and Excellence. Through Neumann PRIDE students have learned about giving the respect that you wish to receive, being yourself and a leader among much more.

McNamee is not alone in fostering this pride among the student body though as the schools’ faculty, staff, family members, parents, coaches and volunteers are there supporting and aiding in the students success by connecting with the kids, she said. In return this creates a Neumann family.

“My focus is all about the kids,” she said. “I find out what their needs are and I meet their needs.”

“When you are genuine and sincere it will create that relationship and family that we (St. John Neumann Regional Academy) are looking for,” she added.

Another way the school is creating pride is by starting the school year off with the Noble Knights initiative.

The initiative aims to teach the students about “expectations and make sure they are aware of that to set them up for success for the school year,” she said.

This too comes from the teamwork of the school’s faculty, staff and volunteers that have helped put together the program and presented it to the students.

The new school year began on Aug. 26 and during the first week of classes, the junior and senior high school held an assembly daily leading up to the Noble Knights initiative where students learned about taking pride in their school, being a friend to others and setting a positive tone. Teachers explained, taught and modeled the expectations of the students and how to be a Noble Knight.

Another new program that has been added to the Neumann class schedule is the built-in Extending Learning Time, also known as ELT, where students are able to check in on their grades and meet with teachers to further their success.

McNamee is an “innovative leader committed to an educational environment that is rigorous and engaging for all types of learners,” said Jason W.S. Morrison, secretary of Catholic education/chief executive officer for the Diocese of Scranton.

These experiences have provided McNamee an “understanding of what the teachers needs are and giving them what they want but it also gives me the experience of understanding what the students needs are,” she said. “It’s given me a wider spectrum to pull from” as a principal.

McNamee is a native of Williamsport and attended St. Boniface and the former Bishop Neumann School, she said. McNamee then graduated from Williamsport Area High School and received a bachelor’s of science in elementary education from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, master’s degree in school leadership and a principal certificate from Marywood University. Over her 20 years at St. John Neumann’s, McNamee has held a variety of teaching positions for students in second, third and fourth grades.

St. John Neumann Regional Academy is a Catholic school “steeped in tradition” and is centered around Christ, though, there are “a large number of students that are non-catholic,” she said. The school is state certified and meets the same criteria as other schools. Through the small class sizes, the two schools are able to have “rigorous curriculum” while meeting social and emotional needs, teaching morals and values “to create well-rounded students.”

St. John Neumann Regional Academy is part of the Diocese of Scranton Catholic School system and operates two campuses in Williamsport serving students in pre-kindergarten to third grade through 12th grade.

“I am honored to be entrusted with this position and will work tirelessly to make St. John Neumann the best it can be. I plan to develop a strong partnership between school and family in which our students will feel secure and connected, and where teachers and students have the ability to reach their God-given potential,” McNamee said in a recent announcement.