9/10 Update from Cathy Callahan

September 10, 2021 

Dear Saint Dominic Academy Community, 

Based on the recommendation of the Interim Search Committee, acceptance by the Board of Trustees and approval  and appointment of the Prioress and Council of The Sisters of Saint Dominic of Caldwell, we are pleased to  announce that Elizabeth (Liz) Christou-Woodall will serve as Interim Head of School of Saint Dominic Academy. 

Liz comes to us a proven leader in education with considerable depth and experience as both an educator and  administrator. Liz served for 28 years in increasingly senior roles at Kent Place School, an All-Girls non denominational K-12 College Prep School located in Summit, NJ. During her last 13 years at Kent Place, Liz was  the Upper School Director. Throughout her KPS journey, Liz taught middle school and 9th grade, coached  basketball, founded the Girls Leadership Institute, was the first Dean of Students, and supported innovative  curriculum development and increased enrollment. Liz started her teaching career at St. Luke’s in the South Bronx  as part of her service in the Jesuit Volunteer Corp. She also taught at Our Lady Help of Christians in East Orange.  Most recently Liz established the position as Director of Development for Bridges Outreach, a not-for-profit entity dedicated to outreach and support for the Homeless. She is a Board Trustee at Newark Academy and chairs the  security committee. 

Liz is a woman of deep faith who is committed to carrying forward the Dominican pillars and the mission of Saint  Dominic Academy. Liz attested to this in her application for the role. “Being back at a Catholic school and being in  a learning and service environment where faith matters and is embraced openly will bring out the best in me. My  faith, especially my devotion to Mary and reliance on the Holy Spirit, allows me to approach challenges with  strength and courage. Living the Dominican Catholic Identity through the four pillars of prayer, study, community  and ministry will be an extension of my daily existence.” Additionally, Liz is a strong advocate for girls’ education.  With 28 years of focus, Liz’s commitment to girls is unwavering. 

This news is the culmination of the search process that was conducted diligently over the summer. We determined  that, given our tight timeframe, an interim head would be in SDA’s best interest while we undertake the longer  process of searching for a permanent head. We put together an interim search committee, as we previously  communicated, comprised of Sisters and Board Trustees, and retained a search firm. We interviewed numerous  candidates from a larger pool and ultimately selected two finalists for consideration by the SDA community. We  carefully conducted interviews and personal reference checks and discerned feedback from faculty, administrators,  staff and Board Trustees. We are grateful that Liz has accepted the invitation to join us as Interim Head of School. 

We are thankful for everyone’s participation in this process and look forward to warmly welcoming Liz to SDA. As  we approach our 150th Anniversary this is an exciting development which allows us to step boldly into the future.  We are confident that Liz’s experience, enthusiasm and faith-inspired humility will ensure that the legacy of SDA  will grow and thrive for generations to come. 

Sincerely, 

Cathleen Callahan ‘73 

Chair, St Dominic Academy Board of Trustees

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