Magnificat High School President to step down

Magnificat High School President to step down
Sister Carol Anne Smith, H.M., President of Magnificat High School
Sister Carol Anne Smith, H.M., President of Magnificat High School

ROCKY RIVER, OH (WOIO) - Thanksgiving is the perfect time to reflect upon and give thanks for the blessings we have received.  In this spirit of gratitude, Sister Carol Anne Smith, H.M., President of Magnificat High School announced to her faculty, staff and students that she will step down as President of the school at the end of the school year.

Sister Carol Anne started her address by recalling an essential dimension of Magnificat's Misson:  recognizing God's call in our lives and responding. She stated that a key responsibility of a leader is to continually evaluate the organization strategically in light of its Mission, while looking down the road to anticipate possibilities and needs to ensure a vibrant and solid future. She continued by saying that Magnificat High School is at a pinnacle in the school's history and development, citing some of the following indicators:

  • The Mission fully pervading the program and environment
  • Vibrant, purposeful students; actively engaged parents and an expert, committed Board of Directors
  • An experienced and respected administrative Leadership Team
  • A powerful academic program with colleges and universities actively seeking our graduates
  • Partnerships with external organizations expanding
  • Capacity enrollment—largest, all girls' high school in Ohio
  • Strong fiscal position and forecast with Endowment at a respected $12 million
  • 2009-2013 Strategic Plan essentially implemented
  • Capital Campaign successfully achieving its first milestone--the halfway mark in one year--with all structures and leadership cabinets in place to propel the campaign toward successful completion

"From my perspective as a leader, the time is now, at this point of strength and recognized accomplishment, to look beyond this Strategic Plan, beyond this continuing Capital Campaign and beyond this President, to the next era of Magnificat's faithfulness in fulfilling its Mission and to ongoing measurable greatness in educating young women of faith," said Sister Carol Anne.

"My time as President is drawing to a close and this is the time for the Board of Directors to begin the process of seeking Magnificat's next President, a person who will bring new vision and new skills for a new time. New leadership brings new vision to move the school forward in yet unimagined ways.  I will do all possible to provide maximum support for the search process and the smoothest of transitions," she added.

Sister's announcement comes during her sixth year as President of Magnificat and 22 total years at the school. She returned to Magnificat in 2007 to fill the role of President, after serving as the Superintendent of the Diocese of Cleveland Catholic Schools and the Executive Director of the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland Foundation. Sister has extensive experience in the areas of leadership, administration, education, Catholic health care, governance, development and public relations. In 1992, Bishop Anthony Pilla appointed her Secretary for Education of the Diocese of Cleveland overseeing the sixth largest system of private schools in the United States. Prior to that, she spent 16 years at Magnificat as a teacher and administrator--including seven years as principal--during which time the school achieved certification as a college-preparatory school, established its first advisory board turned Board of Directors, underwent its first Capital Campaign, and received the U.S. Department of Education's Exemplary (Blue Ribbon) School Award the first year the honor was given. From 1985-1992, she served concurrently on the Leadership Council of her religious congregation, the Sisters of the Humility of Mary.

The search for Sister Carol Anne's successor will begin immediately, according to Chairperson of the Magnificat Board of Directors, P. Kelly Tompkins.

"It has been an extraordinary privilege to work side by side with Sister Carol Anne.  We are blessed with the fruits of her leadership, especially the dedicated and talented senior Leadership Team that so capably leads every day.  And we have a committed and engaged Board that will collectively ensure our school continues to move forward during this period of leadership transition," said Mr. Tompkins, Executive Vice President – Legal, Government Affairs and Sustainability of Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. of Cleveland. "Looking ahead, I am confident the search committee will find a compelling successor. Our school is well positioned to attract a leader that will not only uphold Magnificat's Mission, but likewise sustain the momentum and progress that is so evident to our students, parents, faculty, alumnae and community of supporters from across the country," he added.

"I am definitely not retiring!" said Sister. "I am greatly blessed with health and energy, and I will do as I have always done, that is to seek to recognize God's next call to me. The Sisters of the Humility of Mary are involved in numerous significant ministries, and the needs of the people of God are great and many. I trust that I will know--as I have always in the past--where I am meant to serve next. For now, we have so much exciting work to do here at Magnificat and that work, on behalf of our students, will move forward with my full energy and commitment," she added.

Sister Carol Anne Smith has a Bachelor of Arts from Ursuline College and a Masters of Education in Administration and Supervision from John Carroll University. She has taken post-graduate classes at Miami University of Ohio and Boston College.

She has held a variety of leadership and administrative positions and has served on various boards. She has just stepped down as Chairperson of the Board of Directors at Mercy Regional Medical Center in Lorain County--where she received its Sisters of the Humility of Mary Mission Leadership Award.  She also serves on the Board of Trustees of St. Edward High School and has served as a member of the National Catholic Education Association Research Board. Sister has held membership in the Ohio Council of Fundraising Executives, the Big Twelve Catholic Superintendents Association and the Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development. Additionally, she has served on the Executive Committee and Schools Division Advisory Committee of Chief Administrators of Catholic Education and the leadership division of the National Catholic Education Association. Sister was awarded the 2003 Leonard F. DeFiore Parental Choice Advocate Award from the National Catholic Educational Association for her years of dedication to the cause of parental choice in education.

Magnificat High School, a girls' Catholic, college-preparatory high school, founded and sponsored by the Sisters of the Humility of Mary, calls young women to learn, lead and serve in the spirit of Mary's Magnificat.