Archbishop Ryan Welcomes Mr. Barnett as the new president

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With the resignation of Mrs. Denise Le Pera, the Archbishop Ryan administration began looking for a new president.

 As  August quickly flew by with still nobody in the position we were able to get Dr. Walls out of retirement. She happily came to fill in as the interim president.  The search continued for a full time President and the committee found Mr. Michael Barnett, who graduated from Ryan in 1990.

While Mr. Barnett was at Ryan he was very involved. The new president said, “ I was a running back on the 1988 football team, which was the school’s first championship football team and I was also on track and field, student council, CSC and an Alumni Representative. I tried a lot during my time here, with so many activities there were so many ways to get involved. Every student should explore the opportunities and get involved. “

Barnett graduated from Millersville University with a Bachelor of Science in Education. He is an active member of several alumni organizations for both Ryan and Millersville. His family belongs to St. Bede the Venerable parish.

In Barnett’s first address to the student body he mentioned that he hopes to fill the balcony with students.

 “Catholic education is a very competitive landscape. What we must do is proactively is reach out to our historic feeder parishes and schools to make sure we capture high percentages, if not all, students looking for a catholic education. Furthermore, we need to expand our reach to consist of those in surrounding areas who desire their children to have a co-ed catholic foundation and make certain that they know Ryan is the beacon in that area,” said Barnett.

Certainly Ryan and other catholic schools have lost a lot of potential students to the quick expansion of charter schools.  Going forward, Barnett believes Ryan can capture some of those students who have overlooked Ryan because of cost and marketing that indicates the charter schools are more current with technology and facilities.  

“I believe we’ve simply been out hustled in  regards to critical areas of the school’s growth. We have the facility, the space, the extracurricular activities and a high academic standard that is equal to or better than any charter school. We simply need to rebrand ourselves and clearly articulate that out into the community,” said Barnett.

Barnett also wants to make the alumni feel more connected and plans to invite alumni to attend the graduation ceremony this June. Barnett looks to the Spring, “I would like to invite alumni to Graduation in an effort to embrace the school’s past, including purple and gold and black and red, while showing a clear vision for the future and fusing those together. My specific address to the student body would be to realize the importance of coming back and giving back to the institution that set you up for your future success.”

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