MERRILLVILLE — A task force has been appointed by the bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Gary to provide executive oversight to Andrean High School until a new principal is appointed.
The Catholic high school has had four principals since the Rev. Paul Quanz resigned in 2012 to become a diocesan priest with the Diocese of Gary.
The school tried the principal/president model of leadership for a couple of years but suspended that practice last year.
Quanz, the longest-serving principal in the school's history, began his career at Andrean as a teacher and served as principal for 18 years. He was the last of the Congregation of St. Basil ministers at the school.
Bishop Donald Hying emailed a letter to the Andrean family, including parents and alumni, dated Tuesday, that he has appointed three people to serve as a special task force to provide executive oversight to the school until a new principal is hired. They are Tony Bonta, his chief of staff; Kelly Venegas, manager of human resources for the Diocese of Gary; and the Rev. Kevin Scalf, special assistant to the president of Calumet College of St. Joseph
This governing body has the bishop's authority to make decisions, the bishop said in the letter.
"As the school prepares to enter its 58th year of service, I share your concern about the future of Andrean and its ongoing viability," Hying wrote.
"Since arriving in the Diocese of Gary last year, I have been deeply inspired by the many ways you have been living the motto of Andrean High School: 'Christ is my teacher,' " he wrote.
"Be assured that I and the Diocese are firmly committed to the success of the school. We need Andrean High School to continue its important and beautiful work of forming our beloved young people as disciples of Jesus Christ, ready to make an intelligent, transformative and significant contribution to the Church and the world. I care deeply about our school and would like to share some decisions and objectives that show a way forward, to restore confidence and hope to all of our stake-holders," the letter said.
According to the letter, the task force has conducted listening sessions with parents, students, faculty, staff, alumni and others.
The letter said Bonta will coordinate school administration, including finances, the physical plant and athletics. Venegas will be responsible for all personnel matters, and Scalf will coordinate mission integration, Catholic identity and campus ministry.
Hying said Rick Piwowarski will remain acting principal, serving as adviser to the task force. The letter said the search for a new principal has begun, and a number of people already have applied.
Hying said school tuition for 2016-17 will remain the same as this year.