Thursday, May 23, 2024

New Principals Looking forward to Continuing Mission of Catholic Schools

The Diocese of Harrisburg announced the appointment of seven new administrators who will lead several Catholic schools beginning July 1. The new administrators, most of whom will serve as principals, bring a wealth of knowledge, skills, and love for Catholic education to their positions.
The administrators joining the Catholic school system in the Diocese of Harrisburg are:

  • Peter Morisco, principal, St. Columba School, Bloomsburg. Mr. Morisco previously served as the principal of Holy Family School in Berwick.
  • Patricia Wilding, principal, St. John the Baptist School, New Freedom. Ms. Wilding has extensive experience as a classroom teacher, both at St. John the Baptist School and with several other school districts.
  • Robert James, principal, St. Rose of Lima School, Thomasville. Mr. James has extensive experience with the York City School District, including administration.
  • Donna Tompkins, interim principal, Delone Catholic High School, McSherrystown. Ms. Tompkins has been a teacher in the Diocesan school system for more than 30 years and currently is the Director of Studies for Delone Catholic.
  • Deborah Henry and Ms. Lorie Torquato, administrative team, Sacred Heart of Jesus School, Lewistown. Ms. Henry is currently the third grade, Religion and Lead teacher for Sacred Heart School. She has been with the school for more than 25 years. Ms. Torquato, the current kindergarten teacher, has been with Sacred Heart for 24 years.
  • Kyla Hockley, principal, St. John Neumann School, Lancaster. Ms. Hockley is currently the admissions director for Lancaster Catholic High School. She previously served as a theology teacher at Lancaster Catholic and as the director of religious education at St. James and St. Alexis Parish in Pittsburgh.
Mr. Peter Morisco
Ms. Patricia Wilding
Mr. Robert James
Ms. Donna Tompkins
Ms. Deborah Henry
Ms. Lorie Torquato
Ms. Kyla Hockley

“We are very excited to welcome these new leaders to our Catholic school family in the Diocese of Harrisburg. All of these individuals bring experience and passion for Catholic education to their new roles and they will be great additions to their respective schools,” said Daniel J. Breen, Secretary for Education and Superintendent of Schools for the Diocese.
“On behalf of the Diocese, I also wish to thank Dr. Robert Marande, Ms. Susan Mareck, Ms. Peggy Rizzuto, Mr. Richard La Rocca, Dr. Joe Maginnis and Ms. Suzanne Wood for their dedicated years of service to our students, staff, faculty and Catholic education in the Diocese. We thank them and wish them well as they have all expressed their intent to retire after terrific careers,” he said.
Each new principal/administrator was evaluated by a selection panel, which was formed by each individual school.
The new administrators expressed appreciation for their appointments, and enthusiasm as they look to the start of a new school year.
“I am honored and humbled about the new experience I am moving forward with, and am looking forward to bringing my vision to St. Columba School,” said Morisco. “I’ve met the staff and we’re looking forward to a great, positive learning experience for our students. We want to promote what is unique about our Catholic schools, and that is that we can carry on and accommodate students – even in this pandemic – and give them a quality Catholic education.”
Wilding remarked that she is “truly blessed to be a part of the St. John the Baptist family. The school has an incredibly dedicated faculty, wonderful families who partner with us, and faithful students who make us all proud every day. I am thankful for the opportunity to continue my career as principal at St. John the Baptist School. I look forward to working with the school and Church communities to continue the school’s tradition of excellence in Catholic based education.”
In a video message on St. Rose of Lima School’s Facebook page, James said he is “very excited to start this new position. I am an alumnus of St. Rose of Lima School. I enjoyed my time here and I can’t wait to get started. I’m looking forward to meeting everybody and talking with everybody to find out our strengths, our weaknesses, where we want to go with St. Rose, and I want to continue all the good things Ms. Rizzuto did. I’m very excited to get started on this new journey.”
At Delone, Tompkins said the “amazing and dedicated” faculty and staff are the main reason she accepted the role as interim principal. “I think they recognize that we are a team and we are all in this together with a common goal…. Another aspect that makes Delone Catholic special is all of the students who enter our doors each year. Our students reflect well-rounded, kind and bright young men and women. I feel blessed having had the ability to teach so many of them over the years before moving into an administrative role…. The last piece of this puzzle is our volunteers. Without all those individuals that are behind the scenes doing all those thankless jobs, we would not be this smooth running machine. So many people go into making Delone Catholic what it is and I am just amazed as well as proud to be a part of the tradition.”
At Sacred Heart in Lewistown, Henry and Torquato will serve as co-administrators.
“Having been dedicated to the education at Sacred Heart School for 25+ years, we are excited about the new endeavor and working with the faculty, staff, and students to continue making Sacred Heart School a shining light in our community,” Henry said. “Our goal heading into this school year is to provide as much stability as possible with students and staff, and to remain student achievement and faith formation oriented so that each student works to realize their full academic potential.”
“We are looking forward to the new challenge of what lies ahead in these uncertain times,” said Torquato. “We are honored to assist teachers in new and novel ways to continue to educate our young Catholics and keep them involved in learning and faith formation. We are excited about the new endeavor and working with faculty, staff, parents and students to continue making Sacred Heart School a shining light in our community.”
Hockley said “It is an honor and privilege to serve the families of St. Anne Parish, St. John Neumann Parish and St. Anne School as we transition to St. John Neumann School. My passion is supporting Catholic education in Lancaster County, which I have loved doing for the past 17 years, nine of which have been as Director of Admissions at Lancaster Catholic. I am excited to put my strengths together with those of the faculty and staff in service to the communities we serve, while inviting new families into our mission and ministry. Given the transition to St. John Neumann, we will be able to look at every aspect of school life with new eyes as we look to maximize our academic, faith formation, and service opportunities for our students. I am confident that as a school community, under the guidance and inspiration of the Holy Spirit, we will leverage the energy of this transition as we write the next chapter in our history.”
All Catholic schools in the Diocese of Harrisburg are accepting enrollments for the 2020/21 school year. Please visit to learn more.
The Diocese of Harrisburg has almost 10,000 students enrolled in five secondary schools, one Kindergarten through 12th grade school, 30 elementary schools and one pre-school. To learn more about Catholic education in the Diocese of Harrisburg, visit
The Catholic Witness

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