Mar 6, 2011

President of Cathedral High School named, new initiatives announced


Ann Southworth, retired assistant superintendent for the Springfield Public Schools, to take on role

Story and photos by Terence Hegarty

SPRINGFIELD – Springfield Bishop Timothy A. McDonnell announced March 5 that Ann Southworth of Springfield, a longtime Springfield Public Schools official, has been appointed president of Cathedral High School here. Cathedral Principal John Miller will continue as principal.The bishop also announced that the position is being created along with several new initiatives for the high school, which will be implemented at the start of the next academic year.

“I was enjoying my retirement,” said Southworth to more than 200 who had gathered at a Cathedral awards dinner held at the school Saturday evening. She retired in June, 2010 after 40 years with the Springfield School System.

Southworth and her husband, Deacon David Southworth, were among eight recipients of the St. Joseph Medal Award, given each year by Cathedral to honor those who have excelled in their professional life and made an outstanding commitment to Cathedral High School.

In an effort to improve the school in several areas and beef up enrollment, the Cathedral Board of Trustees has been working on a strategic plan for the school for last several months. Appointing a president for the high school is one of the plan initiatives. Ann is currently serving on the board of trustees.

The announcement was a surprise, coming at the end of the ceremony. Ann was at the podium, beginning her acceptance speech for her St. Joseph Medal, when the bishop arose and interrupted her to make the announcement.

“The strategic plan that the board has been working on, in many ways, will take someone of a special character to implement,” Bishop McDonnell said. “And, I’m happy to announce that Ann has volunteered to implement that strategic plan.”

The room then erupted in applause. Anne and David are well known by the Cathedral community. “She is going to be working to ensure that the name of Cathedral is spread far and wide,” the bishop said.

“We were really excited as a board in thinking about where Cathedral can go in the 21st century,” Ann told the crowd. “As we looked at the challenges facing the young people in this century, (we felt) that we really had to something dramatically different, to really go into a transformation. And we had the courage to do that because we’re building on such a strong, strong foundation.”

Ann graduated from the former Classical High School in Springfield. She earned a bachelor’s degree in English, French and history from Our Lady of the Elms College in Chicopee in 1969. She earned her master’s degree in English from the State University of New York at Stonybrook. She earned her Certificate of Graduate Studies from American International College in Springfield and her doctorate in education at University of Massachusetts in Amherst.

In the Springfield School System, Ann served as a teacher, an assistant principal and principal in addition to working as assistant superintendent “I love being with young people and seeing them grow,” she told iobserve.

The Southworths have one son, John, who graduated from Cathedral last year. It was not announced when Ann would begin her responsibilities.