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Irwin's Queen of Angels hires new principal

| Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014, 9:00 p.m.
Lillian DeDomenic | For Trib Total Media Sandy Stonebraker is the new principal at queen of angels Catholic School in Irwin.
Lillian DeDomenic | For Trib Total Media Sandy Stonebraker is the new principal at queen of angels Catholic School in Irwin.

A new principal has been hired at Queen of Angels Catholic School.

Sandra Stonebraker, who has been involved in Catholic education as a teacher and principal since 1978, was hired to replace Linda Holsopple, who retired at the end of the last school year.

Students are scheduled to return to class from summer break on Aug. 25.

Stonebraker, who was the principal at St. John the Baptist Catholic in the Unity section of Plum for seven years, said one of the reasons she was interested in the position at Queen of Angels is because “it was an opportunity to work at a larger school” in a community that still is growing.

Queen of Angels has about 270 pupils, compared to 215 at St. John the Baptist.

Stonebraker said she is not necessarily planning to make immediate changes at Queen of Angels.

“During my first year here, I'll be looking at what we can do to enrich the things we already have,” she said. “I think that's a necessary step before we can decide if any changes are needed to strengthen our curriculum.”

Stonebraker sees a school principal's role as the leader of a team consisting of teachers, support staff and parents.

“It's important to for the entire school community to work together to help students reach the goals we set for them,” she said. “You can't be an island.”

Stonebraker, 59, is a 1977 graduate of Clarion University, where she studied elementary education and teaching. She earned a master's degree in elementary education and teaching from the University of Pittsburgh in 1979 and obtained her principal certification from Pitt in 1991.

Before working at St. John the Baptist, Stonebraker taught first grade at St. Joseph Regional Catholic School in Port Vue for more than 20 years.

Stonebraker said she met Queen of Angels teachers and some parents before the summer break.

“There's a very family-oriented atmosphere here, and everyone has been very welcoming,” she said. “I'm starting to feel comfortable, and I'm looking forward to getting to know everyone better.”

Stonebraker lives in Churchill with her husband, Keith. They have two adult children, Kara and Scott.

Tony LaRussa is a Trib Total Media staff writer.

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