Mr. Steve Tortorello Named First Lay Principal of Marian Catholic High School

Steve Tortorello
Mr. Steve Tortorello ‘04 has been named principal of Marian Catholic High School beginning July 1, 2014. (PHOTO SUPPLIED)

Chicago Heights, IL-(ENEWSPF)- School President Sister Judine Hilbing, O.P. is pleased to announce the selection of Mr. Steve Tortorello ‘04 as the new principal of Marian Catholic High School beginning July 1, 2014.

Tortorello has been a member of the Marian Catholic family for more than 15 years, beginning with his earliest days as a student. After graduating from Marian Catholic in 2004, Tortorello went on to earn three degrees from the University of Notre Dame: a Bachelor of Arts in English and American Studies, a Masters in Education, and a Masters in Educational Administration. His Masters in Education was earned through the University of Notre Dame’s Alliance for Catholic Education. This program afforded him the opportunity to teach at Our Lady of Lourdes School in East Los Angeles, where he gained academic, experiential, and personal formation to provide effective leadership for the needs of a Catholic institution.

Since his return to Marian Catholic in 2010, Tortorello has served as a freshmen English teacher and an Advanced Placement history teacher, quickly earning the praise of his students as an outstanding educator. He has consistently gone above and beyond to provide for the needs of his students, spending many hours after school to help seniors with their college applications.

Outside of the classroom, Tortorello has enhanced school spirit and rallied students to support each other at various extracurricular events. He has worked to promote the future of Marian Catholic through involvement with recruitment and marketing committees. Devoted to his Catholic faith, Tortorello has offered major support to the Kairos Retreat Program.

Tortorello becomes the eighth principal of Marian Catholic and is the first layperson to hold the position. At this important time in the school’s history, he offers the unique perspective of having been on both sides of the desk. Tortorello recognizes the high expectations placed on students, but also understands the responsibilities of the faculty and staff. He can effectively communicate both realities with parents and the larger community. Tortorello has a good knowledge of Catholic Dominican values, living them as part of his daily life. He has a keen sense of the school’s Mission and will work hard to ensure that Marian Catholic remains a faith- filled community devoted to excellence in academics, athletics, and fine arts. Tortorello brings strong energy and enthusiasm to the role of principal and offers a new vision that is sure to inspire the institution for many years to come.

As chairperson of the Mission Integration Committee of the Board of Directors, Dr. Joseph Hamann is excited about the announcement of Tortorello as the first lay principal of Marian Catholic High School. “Steve is a gifted educator and dynamic leader with outstanding interpersonal skills” said Hamann. “I have great confidence that he will work with the leadership team of Marian Catholic to embrace the abiding ethic of providing young men and women with a premier education steeped in Catholic values and Dominican truths.”

Tortorello comes to his new position in tandem with three outstanding assistant principals. Dr. Shirley Morris, the Assistant Principal for Academics, assures the strength of the collegiate-level curriculum, offering expertise and direction to the academic leadership platform. Mr. John Kozojed, the Assistant Principal of Student Services, has worked closely with Tortorello over the years and brings wisdom and a lifetime of committed service to this time of transition. Mr. Jack Heneghan, the Assistant Principal of Operations, works with individual student and faculty issues, helping each person in the school environment to achieve his/her highest level of good citizenship. The cumulative knowledge and experience of current leadership continues to be a tremendous asset to the Marian Catholic Community as Tortorello assumes the responsibilities currently held by Sister Kathleen Anne Tait, O.P.

Sister Rose Marie Riley, O.P., the Prioress General of the Dominican Sisters of Springfield, expressed confidence in Tortorello’s ability to promote the Dominican charism at Marian Catholic High School. "We are so grateful" stated Riley "that our ministry of educational leadership will be carried on by one so imbued with the Dominican spirit. Steve is deeply committed to our Dominican Pillars of prayer, study, community, and preaching. We are delighted to partner with him. His views are very consistent with the direction statement of the most recent General Chapter of our Congregation which reads in part ‘With active hope we choose to imagine the world we want to inhabit and accept the urgent responsibility to collaborate in bringing it to birth. Centering our lives in Jesus, the Word Made Flesh, we walk into the mystery unfolding before us.’"

In reflecting on her decision to select Steve Tortorello from a large group of qualified candidates, Sister Judine Hilbing looked to the future. “Throughout the course of this most recent academic year, the school community has been engaged in a process of strategic planning. As we prepare to present the final document to the Board of Directors for approval, I am confident that Steve has the vision, enthusiasm, and energy to carry our 20/20 VISION into the future, ensuring the long-term vitality of Marian Catholic High School.”

Established in 1958 and sponsored by the Dominican Sisters of Springfield, Illinois, Marian Catholic High School is a Catholic, coeducational, college preparatory high school within the Dominican tradition of study, prayer, community, and preaching. Marian Catholic students seek truth, exhibit personal responsibility, cultivate their individual talents, and demonstrate ethical leadership and Christian service.

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