August 4, 2022 // Diocese

New principals offer new insight and skills to classrooms

Kathleen Mulligan, St. Joseph School, Garrett 

Kathleen Mulligan

Mulligan spent 13 years in Fort Wayne Community Schools and seven as Assistant Principal at St. Vincent de Paul School, Fort Wayne. 

She came to her new role because it allowed her “the opportunity to be the leader at St. Joseph School and learn more about other schools in our diocese, while bringing some of my training background to the smaller school setting.”

In her opinion, Catholic schools are special because “Catholic education allows students to embrace God throughout their whole day. They are surrounded with learning about Jesus and experiencing ways to deepen their faith.”

As principal, she hopes “to lead the students, staff and community closer to God.”

Jennifer (Jenni) Crain, St. Adalbert School, South Bend

Jennifer Crain

Crain taught at St. Adalbert for 17 years and spent one year as Assistant Principal at St. Jude School in South Bend.

“A love of the community I came from” brought her to the principal’s job at St. Adalbert.

She believes Catholic schools stand out in “the fact that we are not just helping to form the mind, but the heart and spirit as well.”

Of her aspirations as principal, she said, “I just want to serve my kids and their families as well as they deserve to be served.”

Damian Schmitt, St. Mary of the Assumption School, Avilla 

Damian Schmitt

Schmitt comes to his new position with 22 years of experience in education and out of a desire to move closer to family.

For him, Catholic education stands out because it provides “an education of the entire person that prepares our children for lives grounded in truth, and offers them a real shot at authentic happiness.”

His goal as principal is “to lead St. Mary of the Assumption in facing the challenges of our times and equip students and teachers with what they need for success.”

Brittany Korpal, Holy Family School, South Bend

Brittany Korpal

Korpal worked at Holy Family School for nine years. She said that, “After spending nine years as a teacher, I knew it was time to challenge myself a little more as an educator. I want to take all the knowledge that I have and not only share it with the students but share it with my colleagues so they can use best practices in their classrooms to help our students become more successful. I also want to take all my education and administrative skills to help develop future leaders.”

To her, “Catholic education stands out because it is so unique. I can embrace the values, the morals of our faith and the teachings of the Church so that as the students grow older, they can really trust in God to help guide them. We not only have the joy of teaching our students that education is important, but we can also teach them our most important goal of life which is making it to heaven.”

“As a principal, I want to continue to improve student achievement in the classroom so that our students enter the world as respectful and knowledgeable adults who can be successful in our community.”

Shannon Jones, St. John the Baptist School, South Bend

Shannon Jones

Jones spent two years in the South Bend Community School system before teaching in diocesan schools for 15 years.

She took the job as principal because “I felt called to make a bigger difference than what being a classroom teacher allowed me.”

“Catholic education stands out to me because everything we do is rooted in the Gospel. All our work in the classrooms can be traced back to what Jesus taught us about our faith.”

As principal, she hopes “to continue the work of the previous principal and keep enrollment improving and our students growing as learners who can live out the greatest commandment of loving God, their neighbor and themselves.”

Kim Obringer, Queen of Peace School, Mishawaka

Obringer carries 23 years of educational experience into her new job: five years in the South Bend Community School district and 18 at Queen of Peace itself.

She sought her new role because “Queen of Peace has been my beloved school home for 18 years. Throughout my time spent as a dedicated teacher, I have greatly enjoyed being actively involved within our wonderful parish community. Over time, I began to feel the Holy Spirit calling me to lead and serve my beloved school in a new way. I am blessed and honored to answer the call as the Principal of Queen of Peace Catholic School!”

As a Catholic educator, she said that “Sharing my faith with my students and talking about Jesus has always been important to me … Last school year, I had the privilege of teaching our second graders during their sacramental year. It was the most exciting and rewarding experience for me to share more deeply about Jesus with the little ones as they prepared to receive the sacraments of reconciliation and first holy Communion.”

Her hopes for the upcoming school year include “to accompany our students and families in their Catholic faith, and instill the words of St. Francis de Sales: ‘Let us run to Mary, and, as her little children, cast ourselves into her arms with a perfect confidence.’”

Carin Freiburger, St. Aloysius Catholic School, Yoder

Carin Freiburger

Freiburger has worked in Catholic schools for 10 years; seven at St. Therese in Fort Wayne and three at St. Aloysius. 

She was drawn to her new position through prior work as an administrative assistant, since “many of the similar duties are required for this job, I felt like I could step up this year and run with taking on the principal role. I don’t have all the education needed yet, but I’m willing to learn and take that leap of faith. Knowing that I have the support of our amazing teachers and Monsignor Bruce [Piechocki] behind me definitely helps make this decision easier.”

She appreciates how Catholic schools encourage parents and students to work together to education the “whole person. The feeling of a family both in the school and church are so important in education. The small class sizes, the ability to celebrate feast days, holidays and our faith in Jesus every day is another reason a Catholic education is so important. Being able to celebrate and remain anchored in our faith every day while still striving for academic excellence is what makes a Catholic education such a gift!”

As principal, her hopes are simply “to continue our academic excellence while still growing and learning in our faith here at St. Aloysius.”

* * *

The best news. Delivered to your inbox.

Subscribe to our mailing list today.