The diocesan Catholic Schools Office on Wednesday announced the appointment of Christopher J. Cummings as the first president of St. Peter-Marian Central Catholic Junior/Senior High School (SPM).
This new form of school governance will replace the headmaster model which has been in place since SPM was established in 1976 from a merger of St. Peter High School and Marian High School. The last headmaster, Matthew Sturgis, will retire June 30 after having served as headmaster for 20 years.
Mr. Cummings is currently the director of career and technical education in the Waltham Public Schools. He has a masters degree in history from Providence College and a master’s degree in education administration from Providence College. His undergraduate degree was in history/secondary education from Hofstra University. He has served as assistant superintendent/principal at Blackstone Valley Tech, assistant principal of Ashland High School, vice principal of St. Raphael in Pawtucket and assistant principal at St. Mary School in Lynn. Earlier in his career he taught U.S. history, world history, current events and world religions at St. Raphael Academy.
“This appointment fulfills my long held aspiration to return to Catholic education as a school leader,” said Mr. Cummings. “I believe my greatest impact as an educator has been structuring and implementing instructional models that are rooted in the Catholic faith.”
Mr. Cummings lives in Holliston with his wife and three children. They are members of St. Mary Parish in Holliston. The family is active in several town-wide civic initiatives. Mr. Cummings and his oldest daughter coach for town athletic teams and the entire family has been involved in events connected to raising money for ALS research and development.
“The change to the president model is something the Catholic Schools Office has been working on for three years,” said diocesan superintendent of Catholic Schools Delma Josephson.
“The principal will be responsible for the day-to-day school operations and the president will be the chief advancement officer for the school working with a number of constituencies, including alumni and community organizations,” she said. “One of the primary goals is to build a broad coalition of financial support to make Catholic education at SPM accessible to more families who value a faith-based education.”
Mr. Cummings was the unanimous choice of a committee which included representation from the school’s staff, parents and local Catholic colleges. According to Supt. Josephson, he has more than 20 years of experience in education and the experience of building partnerships with the community. In Waltham, he worked with business and community leaders as well as with post-secondary partners. At Blackstone he worked with fire and police departments.
“The SPM community is excited about the new governance model of a president and principal,” said Denise Allain, principal. “We welcome the transition as we believe it will enhance our outstanding academic and extracurricular programs. We look forward to welcoming Mr. Cummings as our first president and so begin a new chapter SPM’s lifestory.”
“This is a wonderful opportunity for continued growth of SPM,” noted Supt.. Josephson. “While Mr. Sturgis was headmaster, SPM added post-secondary credit opportunities, the first area STEM program and ways for students to be involved in the community, such as Guardians for Life..
“With Mr. Cummings as our first school president, we see that momentum growing further with the potential for business, civic and collegiate partnerships which will offer significant opportunities for both the SPM and greater Worcester communities.”