St. Thecla School starts search for new principal


Saint Thecla School has begun a search for a new principal after the departure of Catherine DeFrancesca, who served in the position for 6 months.

Saint Thecla pastor the Reverend Gene Dyer announced in a recent church bulletin that a search committee will interview candidates and recommend some of them for a second interview with the Saint Thecla School Advisory Council. "We remain committed to providing the best Catholic education for our students as well as developing and growing the school," Dyer said.

Until a new principal is hired, Dyer and school development coordinator Kathy Collins will oversee the school with the Archdiocese of Chicago’s Office of Catholic Education.

The announcement in the bulletin did not include a reason for DeFrancesca’s departure. Her predecessor at the school was Dan Gargano, who now is the head of the Sacred Heart Middle School Division.

Before she was hired by Saint Thecla, DeFrancesca was the chief academic officer and vice president of Computer Services and Consulting, a company that provides Web-based teaching tools to schools.

The school, 6323 N. Newcastle Ave., offers classes in pre-kindergarten through eighth grade. The school has an enrollment of about 250 students and an average class size of 18, according to its Web site.

In 2015 the archdiocese invited the parish to merge its school with several other parochial schools on the Northwest Side, but parish members declined the request. During its 91-year history, many of Saint Thecla’s students have come from families whose parents and grandparents attended the school.

The new school, Pope Francis Global Academy, opened last fall and serves the parishes of Our Lady of Victory, Saint Pascal, Saint Tarcissus and Saint Cornelius.