The 2020-2021 school year officially began July 1, and this year, it brings with it many changes within our administrative team. As announced during the past school year, Marist will have a new president and principal at the helm.
Larry Tucker ’79, who has served as principal for 22 years, will become the school’s first lay president. In his role, he will act as the chief executive officer and “chief executive in faith.” He will be responsible for driving long-range planning and all aspects of the school’s general operations, financial management, and institutional advancement of the 55-acre campus.
Dr. Katie Baal will assume the principal’s role. A seasoned educator, Dr. Baal joined Marist during the 2019-2020 school year as the director of curriculum and instruction. She will work as the chief operating officer with primary responsibility for all matters related to academic programs, student services, faculty, and the daily operations of the school. She is the first woman to serve as principal at Marist.
The number of remaining positions on the administrative team has stayed the same, while the roles and responsibilities have changed for the new school year.
Sarah Kolkmeyer, who has taught in the Religious Studies Department, managed Marist’s transition to a 1:1 iPad program, and directed our Marcellin Program and Peer Leadership Program, will join the team as assistant principal of academics, overseeing course offerings, teacher development, school accreditation, and several other academic areas. Beth O’Neill, who has served as the dean of discipline for upperclass students, will assume the role of assistant principal for student services. She will oversee guidance, student activities, diversity awareness initiatives, the academic resource center, and the health office, along with other student life needs.
Joe Inzinga ’77, who has served as the academic dean for underclass students, and Don Pirkle ’77, who has served as the dean of discipline for underclass students, will continue to serve as deans with a new focus within their roles. Mr. Inzinga will oversee juniors and seniors, while Mr. Pirkle will work with freshmen and sophomores. They will run class-specific programming, plan student and parent events, manage discipline issues, and oversee school safety measures and other logistical responsibilities.
These four administrators along with Athletic Director Eric Simpson will comprise the principal’s leadership team. These changes, in part, come as a response to the growing needs and additional attention required for our students as well as their learning, the desire to have more structure around organizational flow and communication, and the capacity to enhance Marist’s current practices to better serve all constituents, including faculty and staff.
Outgoing President Br. Hank Hammer, FMS, will remain at Marist Chicago, overseeing all standardized testing and semester exams, among other responsibilities. We are grateful for his six years of leadership and spiritual guidance that have made a lasting impact on our community and campus. Tom Gouterman, who worked as the academic dean for upperclass students, wanted to return to the classroom, and will teach in the Science Department.
By building on the school’s strong foundation, Marist is poised for continued growth as it enters its 57th year of making Jesus Christ known and loved and preparing young men and women for higher education and life.