ShareThis Page

St. John the Baptist principal ready to take on new role

| Wednesday, Aug. 7, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Lillian DeDomenic | For the Plum Advance Leader
Theresa Szmed, the new principal at St. John the Baptist Catholic School in Plum, is excited to get the new school year under way.
Lillian DeDomenic | For The Plum Advance Leader
Theresa Szmed, the new principal at St. John the Baptist Catholic School in Plum, is ready for the first new school year.
Lillian DeDomenic | For The Plum Advance Leader
Theresa Szmed, the new principal at St. John the Baptist Catholic School in Plum, is excited to get the new school year under way.

The Rev. Tom Galvin, pastor of St. John the Baptist Roman Catholic Parish in Plum, was on a retreat at the University of Steubenville when he got the news.

Galvin received an email from John Booher, principal at St. John the Baptist Catholic School, indicating Booher was resigning.

Booher had been principal for a year. The search a year ago gleaned 27 candidates. Galvin said one of those candidates immediately came to mind — Theresa Szmed.

Szmed, a middle-school science teacher at St. John, accepted the position in late June.

“There is no question about Mrs. Szmed's ability to be able to take on the job,” Galvin said.

The pastor said a year ago the school was in need of a principal with a solid financial background to help maintain enrollment in an area where the demographics are changing.

Galvin said Szmed, with a strong Catholic and educational background, will bring a “real family atmosphere” to the school.

In Galvin's letter to parents introducing the new principal, Galvin wrote, “(Mrs. Szmed) has a great love for the students, their faith and education (and) an equal love for St. John the Baptist School.”

Anne Jacobus, a teacher at St. John for more than 30 years, described Szmed as “effervescent.”

“Theresa is a great motivator and respectful of others' opinions,” Jacobus said.

Szmed's association with St. John dates back to college when she observed former St. John teacher Karen Bruno in her classroom.

“Karen was my mentor,” Szmed said.

Szmed returned to St. John in 1997 to teach middle-school science.

Though she was a candidate for the job last year, Szmed said she was “astounded” when Galvin in June offered her the position.

Szmed said she enthusiastically accepted.

Szmed said her primary goal is to increase enrollment, which is at 215 students in preschool through eighth grade.

She also plans to continue professional development for the teaching staff that she said goes “above and beyond” in their duties.

Szmed also plans some new programs and aims to continue to challenge students, many of whom score two to three grade levels above their academic grade on standardized tests.

Szmed also will continue to teach science part time and is working toward earning a master's degree in educational administration.

“I am excited,” Szmed said.

Karen Zapf is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8753, or

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.