Principal named to diocesan schools position

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SERVING ALL SCHOOLS Sacred Heart Cathedral School principal Sedonna Prater has been named director of curriculum and instruction for all diocesan schools beginning with the 2013-14 school year. Sacred Heart is conducting a search for her successor. Courtesy of Sacred Heart Cathedral School

Sedonna Prater, who has served as principal of Sacred Heart Cathedral School in Knoxville since 2004, has been named director of curriculum and instruction for the Diocese of Knoxville’s 10 schools.

The appointment was announced Jan. 7 by Bishop Richard F. Stika and diocesan schools Superintendent Sister Mary Marta Abbott, RSM.

Sister Mary Marta said the new position reflects the growth occurring at the diocesan schools and will strengthen work the schools already are doing to provide the best learning approach for students, especially as it pertains to district accreditation.

“As the Diocese of Knoxville has grown over the past 24 years, our 10 Catholic schools from Kingsport to Chattanooga have also grown and developed their programs to be great centers for faith and learning. With this growth, Bishop Stika and I have seen an increasing need for a diocesan director of curriculum and instruction for our schools,” Sister Mary Marta said. “A director of curriculum and instruction would allow our schools to be accredited as a district and would provide curriculum and instructional support and resources to all of our schools.”

Following consultation with Father David Boettner, pastor of Sacred Heart Cathedral Parish, Sister Mary Marta said she and Bishop Stika asked Mrs. Prater to take on the new role and she accepted. She will officially begin the new position on July 1 and will step down as principal of Sacred Heart Cathedral School on June 30. She will remain at Sacred Heart on a part-time basis as the school’s director of curriculum and instruction.

Mrs. Prater said curriculum and instruction have always been among her strongest educational interests and added that she and other educators in the diocese have discussed a unified curriculum.

She also said as diocesan schools continue to grow, it becomes more difficult for already-busy principals to map curriculum.

Mrs. Prater said the new position offers many opportunities to improve programs in the diocesan school system, including attaining district accreditation, which could benefit all 10 diocesan schools. It could also strengthen the diocese’s negotiating leverage when purchasing school resources like textbooks and software, which could ease each school’s budget.

Another curriculum enhancement she hopes to develop is English as a second language because of the increasing number of parishioners who have moved into the diocese from other countries.

“I really enjoy curriculum. Other than children, that is my favorite part of education,” she said.

Mrs. Prater joined Sacred Heart Cathedral School as principal in 2004. She began at SHCS as an eighth-grade teacher in 1997, moving to vice principal in 1999 and serving in that role through 2003. She has a bachelor’s degree in English and a master’s degree in administration and supervision from the University of Tennessee.

Sister Mary Marta said she is grateful to Mrs. Prater for her generosity in taking on the new role for the diocese.

“Her 14 years of administrative leadership will be an asset to all our schools,” the superintendent said.

“The bishop and superintendent have a vision to unify the schools and I’m honored that they’ve asked me to help in that process,” Mrs. Prater said.

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