May 12, 2010 // Uncategorized
Schiffli named principal of Bishop Dwenger High School
By Vince LaBarbera
FORT WAYNE — Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades May 10 announced at an assembly of Bishop Dwenger High School students that Jason Schiffli will be the new principal of the high school in north Fort Wayne, succeeding J. Fred Tone who will retire at the end of this school year.
Schiffli, who has served as an assistant principal at Bishop Dwenger for the past six years, will begin his new assignment on July 1.
Bishop Rhoades said Schiffli was a man of “great faith” and was strongly committed to the mission of Catholic education. Schiffli was the first choice of the nine-member search committee, he said.
“My visits to Bishop Dwenger and to all of our high schools have been some of the best experiences so far for me here in the diocese,” Bishop Rhoades said recently. “I am really grateful to see the strong faith formation that is evident to me as I speak with the students and enjoy their company,” he added.
With an enrollment of 1,050 students, Bishop Dwenger is the largest Catholic high school in the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend and one of the largest Catholic high schools in the state.
Originally from the Butler area, Schiffli grew up in Immaculate Conception Parish, Auburn, and attended Butler Elementary School. He graduated from Eastside High School in Butler and worked at farming and at Franz Nursery in Hamilton for many years, eventually enrolling at Indiana University-Purdue University at Fort Wayne where he earned his undergraduate and graduate degrees in secondary education. His first teaching assignment was in 1995 at St. Joseph-Hessen Cassel School, Fort Wayne, where he taught history, science and theology at the junior-high level for four years.
In 2000, he was named principal at Huntington Catholic School where he says “it was a great training ground to learn how to be a principal.”
In 2004 he was appointed an assistant principal at Bishop Dwenger where he serves as the curriculum director.
Schiffli said he is excited about his new assignment. One of his first duties will be to hire someone to succeed him as the assistant principal in charge of curriculum, identifying student needs, overseeing staff development and assuming responsibility for school accreditation compliance.
“Fred (Tone) did a wonderful job,” he remarked, “and I hope to keep things running smoothly. One of my strengths is in the area of collaboration between teachers, staff and the administration and I am excited to have this opportunity in this area,” he added.
Although his education was in public schools, Schiffli said he loves the environment of Catholic schools. He said his father, Max, was responsible for his strong Catholic faith. As a youngster and a participant in football, Schiffli said he used to follow the football program at Bishop Dwenger, clipping articles from the newspapers and wishing he could play for Andy Johns, the former football coach at Bishop Dwenger. When he assumed the assistant principal position he said his late mother, Kay, said, “You’re finally a saint!”
Schiffli and his wife, Elizabeth, have been married for 15 years and are the parents of four children, three who attend St. Joseph-St. Elizabeth Ann Seton School: Ethan, age 12, a seventh grader; Audrey, 10, in fourth grade; Seth, 5, in pre-school; and Avery, age 3. The family attends St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish.
“I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Jason Schiffli for many years; he is very well respected by our parents, faculty, staff and students,” said Mark D. Myers, superintendent of Catholic Schools for the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend. “Bishop Dwenger High School has been blessed with extraordinary Catholic building leadership under Fred Tone, and Jason Schiffli is a strong, forward-thinking, instructional and spiritual leader who will add greatly to the Catholic identity of our Bishop Dwenger family; we could not be more pleased.”
Speaking of Fred Tone, Bishop Rhoades remarked, “He has served at Bishop Dwenger for 42 years, the past 16 years as principal. He has truly done an outstanding job,” he said. “Everyone I speak to shares with me their admiration for Mr. Tone’s leadership and example of faith. He will certainly be greatly missed, yet his service has left a lasting mark on this community and in the lives of thousands of young people,” Bishop Rhoades concluded.
Tone, a 1963 graduate of Bishop Luers High School, Fort Wayne, recently oversaw a $13-million building campaign and renovations at Bishop Dwenger which included a new cafeteria, small gymnasium, new library, new lighting in the building and landscaping.
“We’re all into this together,” Tone said of both the students and the administration, adding that it’s a family environment where everyone takes ownership.
He said he is very excited about Schiffli succeeding him as principal. “He’s generous with his time, has great management skills and dedicates himself to the kids and the school,” Tone said. “He has great respect for the teachers, and they respect him,” he added. “His faith is on display each day, and he shares it with the students.”
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