New OMC Principal Theresa Ponte. (Photo by Pete Mazzaccaro)

New OMC Principal Theresa Ponte. (Photo by Pete Mazzaccaro)

by MegAnne Liebsch

After the retirement of its long-standing principal, Bruce Hagy, Our Mother of Consolation Parish School has welcomed a new principal to lead its ranks. After working at OMC for only a month, Theresa Ponte already feels invested in the school and excitedly awaits the 2016-2017 semester.

“I’m excited to get to know everyone,” Ponte said. “This is my first year in administration. I want to grow with the school.”

Ponte comes to OMC with an impressive resume of education and experience. She received an M.A. in educational leadership from Immaculata University and has more than 12 years of experience in educating as well as performing research and specialist instruction on education.

As a 2015 National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence, OMC is already ahead of many other parochial schools, but Ponte hopes to continue to improve OMC.

“Top on the priority list would be improving technology,” Ponte said, adding that she wants to increase the student-to-device ratio at the school to enhance learning opportunities for students.

She also plans to create a school-wide rubric for writing to increase writing scores.

Though Ponte is focused on creating more opportunities for learning and success among students, she also wants to build relationships in the school.

“I’ll feel the first year was successful if I establish good relationships with teachers and students,” she noted.

Several years ago, OMC faced closure like many other archdiocesan schools, but the school community pushed for it to stay open. As a result, enrollment at OMC has gone up more than 23 percent since 2010, with 230 students set to start in the fall.

Sue Lasek, who works in OMC’s admissions, said that the reason OMC has been able to achieve all this is because of its strong community base.

“We’re a family,” she said. “It’s the whole package, and it’s the package that families are looking for. We were meant to have this parish school.

“Parents feel that this is a place where their children will be cared for and loved,” Lasek said, adding that most students stay after 3 p.m. for a range of enriching activities.

Director of Advancement Colleen Amuso noted that both Lasek’s and her children went to OMC, exemplifying OMC’s family nature.

Along with a new principal, OMC is planning many new and exciting projects for the 2016-2017 school year. OMC will establish a school board and several other initiatives to expand and improve the school.

“I’ve been here for the peaks and the valleys, and now we’re going up,” Lasek said. “I’m excited to watch us grow academically and spiritually.”