Lizanne Coyne ready to lead new St. Mary Academy

Lizanne M. Coyne


By Christina Leslie, Correspondent

There’s a new Knight in town.

Lizanne M. Coyne, an educator, administrator, mother and soccer coach, has been busy preparing for her role as principal of the new St. Mary Academy, Manahawkin, which once educated southern Ocean County students under the title of All Saints Regional Catholic School.

“Having a blank canvas from which to work, I can’t help but think about the tremendous opportunity for St. Mary Academy to become a prestigious, private Catholic school in southern Ocean County,” Coyne reflected in a recent letter to the community of St. Mary Parish, Barnegat. Under the new restructuring, the school falls under the administration of the parish.

Coyne attended Providence College, Providence, R.I., on a four-year soccer athletic scholarship and earned her bachelor’s degree in business administration there. Despite growing up in a family of IBM business executives, she recalled, “I never truly felt invested in business. Corporate America didn’t quite appeal to me, for I was a people person, a teacher and a coach from the very beginning.”

Following her heart, Coyne pursued life as an educator, eventually earning three master’s degrees: one in athletic administration from Norwich University, Northfield, Vt.; a second in curriculum design and teaching from Columbia University Teachers College, New York, N.Y., and another in educational leadership from Ramapo College, Mahwah. As she amassed those educational degrees, Coyne taught religious education classes in her Mahwah parish; served as sports information director and physical education teacher at such institutions as Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, N.Y., and the Dalton School in New York City, and served as co-owner and head coach of the GOALS Soccer Camp in northern New Jersey for girls ages four to 17.

Coyne spent 17 years in administration at the Barnstable Academy, Oakland, a college preparatory school for students in grades five through 12, in roles such as head of school, executive director and dean of students. The experienced academic then served 18 months as vice principal in St. Joseph School, Oradell, before taking up the mantle as the first principal of the new St. Mary Academy in the Diocese of Trenton.

Coyne said the new academy will be “a special place that teaches children to embrace the influence of God in their daily lives and help them develop the skills necessary to become confident and effective citizens of the world.”

To that end, the school has been under the hammer, drill and paintbrush this summer. Improvements and renovations to the building include roof replacement, HVAC system upgrades, a new and robust server for greater bandwidth and a makeover of the chapel and library. In addition, the science lab is transforming into a science and math center.

It’s not just the aesthetics that are important, Coyne stressed.

“Students will be provided with a foundation that enables them to continue to grow in faith, wisdom and knowledge as disciples of Christ,” the principal said, noting that community service will include Tag Days where the students pay $2 to attend school out of uniform. Proceeds will go toward local organizations.

“Catholic schooling teaches self-discipline, values service, emphasizes kindness, develops leaders and promotes a culture of goodness,” she said.

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