By Tony LaRussa, TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Christ the Divine Teacher Catholic Academy in Aspinwall hired Sister Dorothy Dolak, a Sister of Charity of Nazareth, as principal, marking the return of a religious sister at the helm. In addition to several decades of teaching and working as a principal in Catholic schools, she has served as administrator at a nursing home and an adult day care center.
The new principal at Christ the Divine Teacher Catholic Academy in Aspinwall represents the return of a tradition at the school: having a religious sister at the helm.
“You can’t replace the wisdom that comes from experience, and our new principal certainly has the extensive background as a teacher and principal that we were looking for,” said the Rev. Ken White, pastor of St. Scholastica Parish. “The fact that she is a member of a religious sisterhood is a plus for us.”
The parish recently hired Sister Dorothy Dolak, a Sister of Charity of Nazareth, as principal. She most recently served as principal of St. Sebastian School in Ross and is the first sister to lead the Aspinwall school in almost a decade.
A native a Donora, she is a 1961 graduate of Monongahela Valley Catholic High School. She earned her undergraduate degree from Laroche College in Ross and master’s degree at Duquesne University.
In addition to several decades of teaching and working as a principal in Catholic schools, she has served as administrator at a nursing home and an adult day care center.
Sister Dorothy said her goal will be to maintain Christ the Divine Teacher’s high academic standards.
“This school has a great reputation, and I want to continue the good work they are doing,” she said. “They have a tradition of academic excellence and a faith community that I want to help preserve and build upon.”
Christ the Divine Teacher began as St. Scholastica School in 1925. The name changed in 1997 after the Pittsburgh diocese approved a request by parishes in the Fox Chapel School District to create a regional elementary school.
The kindergarten-through-eighth-grade school on Brilliant Avenue has 135 students enrolled next year.
In a letter to White, Sister Dorothy wrote that she accepted the job “with much joy and excitement.” She said she believes that one of the keys to a successful school is “respecting the faculty and staff.”
“Everybody has their own personality and style,” she said. “I feel that by respecting that, they will take ownership of the school and do things because they want to, not because it is required of them.”
White said Sister Dorothy impressed him as a woman who “works from the heart.”
“I found her to be a very gracious, very committed and gentle soul,” he said. “And she clearly is someone who is at the top of her game.”
Sister Dorothy said the trip to interview for the job was her first to Aspinwall.
“It is such a quaint little town that reminded me of the community I grew up in,” she said. “I really had a positive feeling and felt that the spirit was leading me there.”