Bishop Olmstead establishes new leadership structure at NDP

Mary Beth Mueller and James Gmelich (submitted photo)

Mary Beth Mueller and James Gmelich (submitted photo)

The Most Rev. Thomas J. Olmsted, Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix, has announced the establishment of a new executive leadership structure at Notre Dame Preparatory in Scottsdale.

Bishop Olmsted has appointed James M. Gmelich, current principal at Notre Dame Preparatory, to serve as the Scottsdale school’s President.

“The President/Principal model represents a strategic enhancement of the schools’ approach to development and advancement, educational excellence, and the continued formation of students as missionary disciples in the Catholic faith,” stated Bishop Olmsted in a press release.

The dual leadership structure of President/Principal is an emerging model of administration in Catholic secondary schools in recent years. Bishop Olmsted has chosen this change for both Scottsdale’s Notre Dame Prep and Xavier College Preparatory in Phoenix, the release stated.

It offers shared authority and a division of responsibilities between two people, allowing for efforts between the president and principal to focus on their clearly defined goals to better serve their Catholic high schools and communities.

The president’s chief responsibilities include development and fundraising, donor and alumni relations, enrollment management, partnerships with businesses and public relations. The principal’s role includes leadership in developing and implementing academics, curriculum, staff and faculty development, and administration of day-to-day operations at the school.

Both share in the responsibilities of providing spiritual leadership, personnel and institutional management and creating and maintaining an unparalleled Catholic culture.

“This new dual executive leadership model at Xavier and Notre Dame Prep is a reflection of Bishop Olmsted’s commitment to the community,” stated MaryBeth Mueller, superintendent of the Diocese of Phoenix’s Catholic schools, in the release. “It exemplifies his dedication to providing our students a culture of faith, academics and service that prepares them to be missionary disciples, good citizens and people of faith.”

Principal at Notre Dame Preparatory since 2013, Mr. Gmelich currently directs both the internal and external work of all school personnel and departments. Prior to joining the community at NDP, Mr. Gmelich served as teacher and administrator in three Catholic secondary schools as well as supporting the mission of Catholic schools as an educational consultant for Catholic secondary and pre-secondary schools.

“It is an honor to be asked to serve as president of NDP,” stated Mr. Gmelich in the release. “NDP’s growth and expansion, particularly over the last three years, has created extraordinary professional, financial and community engagement opportunities that will be transformative to our community. The model enables us to engage and realize those opportunities more fully.”

“The structure also allows us to focus even more carefully on the academic and formational objectives that make NDP so special. In the end, the change simply helps us serve our mission better.”

Since its founding in 2002, Notre Dame Prep has garnered state, regional and national awards for its academic, co-curricular and formation programs, including the Arizona Interscholastic Association’s Director’s Cup, the highest award bestowed upon a school for overall excellence in scholarship, sportsmanship and achievement within a school’s athletics and activities program, the release stated.

NDP has gained particular recognition by securing 41 team state and 36 individual athletic and activity championships, 13 national visual and performing arts awards and has be recognized as a school of special distinction by Catholic Relief Services for its commitment to service and justice.

On December 31, 2014 NDP closed its Legacy Continues Campaign after securing $7.3 million to complete phases I and II of a three-phase campus expansion plan. The acquisition of 7.46 acres adjacent to the campus launched the expansion, and in September of 2015, with the christening of NDP’s new sports complex and the dedication Bemis Field, phase two was completed.

The third phase of the school’s strategic master plan will feature NDP’s Center for the Arts and Fieldhouse. This building will add up to 100,000 square feet of new classroom, performing arts and athletic space.The school is currently conducting a feasibility study to determine the scope of the coming project and expects to announce its finding in the late spring.

The national search for NDP’s next principal will begin immediately. Conducted by the Diocese of Phoenix and the school’s administration, the search seeks to identify and secure a passionate and accomplished Catholic school leader to advance NDP’s school mission and award winning programs.

For information on how to apply go to

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