New leader of diocesan schools named
Ritter had been asst. superintendent; served as the interim head for year
CHARLOTTE — Dr. Janice Ritter has been named superintendent of the Diocese of Charlotte schools system effective July 1.
Ritter, formerly the assistant superintendent, has been serving as the interim superintendent since the retirement of Linda Cherry in July 2011. She has been a member of the diocesan schools staff since 1997.
Over the past six months, a search committee of 10 people – comprised of parents, school leaders, clergy and educators, led by Father Roger K. Arnsparger, diocesan vicar of education, and David Longo, former Mecklenburg Area Catholic Schools board member – had been conducting a national search and evaluating applicants including Ritter. Their goal was to have a superintendent named by July 1.
Ritter will be responsible for leading the diocese's 19 schools, which include the regionalized Mecklenburg Area Catholic Schools with its nine schools and separate school board; parish-based schools in Asheville, Gastonia, Greensboro, Hendersonville, High Point, Salisbury and Winston-Salem; and the diocesan high school, Bishop McGuinness in Kernersville.
Ritter served as assistant superintendent from 1999 to 2011, when she stepped in as interim superintendent following Cherry's retirement. Under her tenure, she was responsible for overseeing and monitoring Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) accreditation for the diocese's then 18 schools, coordinating testing and curriculum adoption, monitoring teacher licensure, and planning and implementing professional development.
Prior to coming to the diocesan schools office, Ritter served as principal of St. Patrick Elementary School in Charlotte from 1997 to 1999. She also has worked as an adjunct instructor with Belmont Abbey College's Adult Degree Program, and as an adjunct instructor with Strayer University, Central Piedmont Community College and Pfeiffer University, where she has taught on curriculum design, classroom management, learning theories and more.
Ritter started out her education career as an art teacher at Blessed Sacrament Elementary School in New Rochelle, N.Y., the school she herself attended as a student. She then taught fourth and fifth grades there before moving to Charlotte.
In Charlotte, she taught at Beverly Woods Elementary School and Starmount Elementary School. She worked for seven years at Sharon Elementary School where she taught primary grades including a multi-age class for kindergarten, first- and second-grade students. She then became assistant principal at Irwin Avenue Open Elementary School in 1996.
She has a doctorate in educational leadership from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, a Master of Science in Education with a focus on early childhood education from the College of New Rochelle in New York, and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Art Education also from the College of New Rochelle.
A native of New York, she and her husband Gary will celebrate their 39th anniversary in August. They have three sons, a daughter-in-law and two grandsons.
"I am looking forward to continuing to work with my colleagues throughout the diocese, and especially those in the Catholic schools," Ritter said. "We have outstanding principals and excellent teachers and staff who bring the vision of Catholic education alive in each school. I am confident that together we will build on what we have already accomplished in our schools. One exciting challenge for us as educators is to use technology to bring new learning opportunities to young people in the diocese."
In his announcement of Ritter's selection this week, Father Arnsparger said, "I am very grateful to the search committee for the great work it did in considering the applicants for the position of superintendent. We are also grateful to Dr. Ritter for all of the work she has done for our schools in recent years, including her work as the interim superintendent for the last year. I very much look forward to working with Dr. Ritter in the future as we continue to develop our Catholic schools."
— Patricia L. Guilfoyle, editor
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