August 6, 2018 // Schools

New principals named at diocesan schools

Fort Wayne native to lead Our Lady School

By Barb Sieminski

Samantha S. Smith

It was a communal faith that accompanied new Our Lady School principal Samantha S. Smith during a heavy loss.

“In 2006, my father passed away from multiple sclerosis,” said Smith, who is a member of nearby St. Vincent de Paul Parish. “He was the basis of my and the rest of my family’s Catholic faith – my mother Susan converted to Catholicism after marrying Randy, my father. My four siblings and I were all raised Catholic. This shared faith is what got me through, and continues to get me through, his death.”

Smith was born in Fort Wayne but moved to Mesa, Arizona, where she lived for 10 years before moving home. After graduating from Mountain View High School in Mesa, she worked as a special education assistant in the hearing-impaired department, as a general education classroom assistant and as a long-term substitute. In 2010 she obtained her B.S. in secondary education with a concentration in English from Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne. In 2013, she received an M.S. in secondary education, also from IPFW, and in 2017 received an M.S. in educational leadership from Ball State University. In addition, she possesses a certification in photography and she will begin attending classes this fall to become certified in classical learning.

Smith’s first teaching position was at Huntington Catholic School, where she taught fifth- and sixth-grade math and seventh- and eighth-grade science. Kekionga Middle School followed, with Smith teaching seventh-grade math and algebra; she then became an instructional coach at Snider High School before assuming her current post as principal of the Our Lady of Good Hope Parish school, located at, 7215 Saint Joe Rd., Fort Wayne.

She credits her success in education to two people who “have always been willing to provide advice whenever I have asked for it: Derek Boone, who is the principal of Huntington Catholic, and Lisa Spaw, who was an instructional coach with me at Snider High School — but her background has been as a district-level special education coordinator,” said Smith. “I have valued both Derek and Lisa’s support and guidance.”

What does Smith hope to accomplish in her new position?

“As the principal of Our Lady School, it is my job to work with all of the stakeholders in our students’ lives, which includes the students, in order that they are being formed as true disciples of Jesus Christ through an interdisciplinary, integrated Catholic classical liberal arts curriculum, which is centered on Christ and His Church” said Smith. “This is my overall goal, and everything I do is working toward it. I hope to foster a positive learning environment for the students so that they have everything they need to succeed in academics and in life.”

New St. John the Baptist principal has vision for growth

By Lisa Kochanowski

Brian Carver

The Spartans of St. John the Baptist School, South Bend, will see a new face this school year with the addition of principal Brian Carver.

“I have several areas that top my priority list at St. John the Baptist. First off, we are implementing a new classical education curriculum that I feel will greatly benefit the students that we serve. I am excited to work with the excellent teaching staff to ensure the implementation of the curriculum is a smooth transition, for students as well as the staff,” noted Carver, as some of his goals for the upcoming school year. “Secondly, I am very dedicated to reviving the proud athletic programs at St. John’s. It is my desire to field our own soccer, basketball and volleyball teams. I am a product of Holy Cross grade school, and I remember when St. John’s was a force to reckon with in the ICCL. I think that athletics are an important aspect of the educational experience because they help build a strong school community, as well as give the students that we serve an identity.”

Enrollment is also at the top of his priority list.

“It is essential that we grow our student body. I think that with the implementation of our new curriculum, and the increased focus on strong athletic and extracurricular programs, that we at St. John’s offer an educational experience unlike any offered in our area. A strong focus on the faith as well as the student enables us to provide a unique learning opportunity that produces a well-rounded student,” said Carver.

Carver graduated from Holy Cross College in 2010 and finished his master’s degree in administration through Western Governors University in 2016. His background includes working for School City of Mishawaka, LaSalle and LaVille Elementary schools, and coaching football and golf.

He feels fortunate that during his career as a student and as a teacher he has been impacted by several great educators.

“First and foremost, my grandmother Ganey Pellow, who was a teacher for the better part of 60 years. She helped to instill in me the importance of learning and education as a whole. I was lucky enough to have her work at Holy Cross after her retirement from South Bend Community Schools while I was a student. Her interactions with her students were unbelievable: She was tough yet caring, and years later when I would run into her former students they always asked about how she was and told me how great it was to have her as a teacher,” said Carver.

“The second major influence on me and my career choice was John Farthing. Mr. Farthing was my principal while I was at Holy Cross, and I was lucky enough to work for him for a couple of years while teaching at LaVille. There is no greater advocate for education and students than Mr. Farthing. To this day, students that were lucky enough to come into contact with Mr. Farthing always have their own memorable story of how he positively impacted their lives,” noted Carver.

He hopes to have the same impact on the students at St. John the Baptist School.

“I believe that the greatest gift of being an educator is the impact that we all have on young lives. And the greatest tribute to an educator is the legacy that they leave upon the students they came into contact with. In 30 years if I am remembered in the same light as my grandma and John Farthing then I believe that I can deem my tenure as principal as a resounding success.”

In his free time, he spends quality time with his wife, Lauren, and three children: Reese, age 8, Ryann, age 5, and Matthew, age 4.

“The kids are all very active and participate in several different sports. Reese loves soccer and has a newfound passion for basketball, thanks to the success of the Notre Dame women’s program. Ryann is an avid gymnast and soccer player, and Matthew is a golfer and likes basketball and fishing. When I am not spending time with family I also enjoy golfing,” said Carver.

He is very excited about this upcoming school year and can’t wait to meet all his new families.

“I hope as principal at St. John’s that I am able to create an environment where families want to send their children and that teachers want to come and staff wants to come to work at. I hope to draw on my experiences in education to help make the learning and working environment at St. John’s a positive place for all. Ultimately, I want to make St. John the Baptist the best option for education in our area, and with the dedicated and professional staff in our building I believe that we can accomplish this goal.”

St. Joseph principal returns to Catholic school roots

By Bonnie Elberson

St. Joseph School in Garrett will be under the enthusiastic leadership of a new principal when classes begin this month. Jennifer Enrietto, a Fort Wayne native and the daughter of Roger and Mary Jane Steup, is a former St. Charles Borromeo parishioner and Bishop Dwenger High School graduate who has been tapped for leadership of the small Catholic elementary school north of Fort Wayne.

Enrietto holds a bachelor’s degree in business and marketing from Ball State University. She came a bit later to a teaching career: “When my children went to school, I went with them,” she said. She was first a parent volunteer, classroom assistant and substitute teacher. But when her youngest child began first grade, she herself returned to school and earned a teaching license in elementary education from Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College and a master’s degree in education leadership from Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne.

She taught second and third grade, then quickly moved into school administration, gaining valuable experience at Northwest Allen County Schools and Fort Wayne Community Schools. She says she was blessed to return to Catholic schools as director of student services at St. Vincent de Paul School. “Working in the many different positions gives me unique insight into how each person and each position brings something special to the school community,” she said.

Enrietto recalled the St. Joseph pastor, Father James Shafer, as a newly assigned priest at St. Charles, where she grew up, and she is pleased to be working with him now to lead the students and families of St. Joseph. While introduction of new initiatives is on hold for the present, the new principal wants to get to know the students, their families, the staff and the greater Garrett community.

“St. Joseph School has a rich tradition in Catholic values, spiritual growth and respect. My time will be spent fostering … academic excellence for a lifetime of service to Christ and the community.”

Enrietto believes this is a unique opportunity. “God has His hand on each one of us. I believe everything happens for a reason, and that the Holy Spirit has guided me. I hope to serve the people and honor the rich traditions in faith and education that are St. Joseph School.”

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