OLEAN, NY – BethAnn Owens recalls playing school as a little girl. Decades later, her call to teaching is strong as ever. Even as she rapidly ascended the ranks to principal at Archbishop Walsh Academy/Southern Tier Catholic School, directly influencing young learners has always been her priority.
Now, Walsh/STCS is bidding a fond farewell to Owens, who has accepted a principal post at a faith-based elementary school in Pensacola, Fla.
Owens’ stint with the private Catholic school positively impacted students and faculty alike, said Walsh/STCS Board President Frank McAndrew. Her administrative work – helping to guide the school to a brighter financial future at the former St. John’s School – was among her greatest gifts, he noted.
“I can’t congratulate her and thank her enough,” McAndrew said. “When we hired her as a third-grade teacher six years ago, we knew her skills as an educator extended from the classroom to administrative capacities. In just a few short years as principal, she’s helped to guide both our students and the opening of a new chapter.”
Owens accepted the new principal job May 2. She will stay on until the end of the school year. The move to Florida with her husband, Jim, is the next logical stepping stone to retirement, she said.
“I only ever wanted to be a teacher. I was blessed to have the opportunity to do just that for many years – living out my God-given talents in a career I loved,” Owens said. “The six years I spent at Walsh/STCS were some of the most rewarding years of my career – all the while growing, learning and being prepared for what would come next for my family.”
She added, “This school is a treasure in our communities, even if that narrative has faded with time. There’s still so much value to the academic rigor and faith-based values taught at Walsh/STCS. For me, that faith mission remains as I leave for a similar preK-5 elementary school in a new place. I will forever be grateful for all this school community has meant to me and done for me. There’s no family like the Walsh family.”
Walsh/STCS President Dr. Colleen Taggerty admires strong school leaders who enter administration with their heart still in the classroom. She lauded Owens for an expertise in both curriculum development and classroom instruction.
“That combination is hard to replace,” Taggerty said. “Mrs. Owens’ positively affects teaching and learning every day in many different ways. She has consistently demonstrated her professional manner, exceptional interpersonal skills, and strategic problem-solving abilities, making her a respected and trusted leader. We’re confident that she will continue to inspire and lead with excellence.”
The Walsh/STCS Board of Trustees will soon seek a new principal, who must be prepared to help the St. John’s transition, Taggerty said. Qualified candidates must have at least a master’s degree in school administration with relevant experience. Resumes with cover letters and curricula vitae may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.