Principal McKenna to retire after 21 years of service to Lawrenceville school

From Staff Reports

DEVOTED LEADER • John McKenna addresses the congregation during the Mass marking St. Ann School’s 50th anniversary in 2013. Joe Moore photo

John McKenna, who has served as principal of St. Ann School, Lawrenceville, for the past 21 years, will retire at the end of the school year in June.

“For the past 21 years, Jack McKenna has worked to provide the Church of St. Ann with a quality school that is a source of great pride for all in the parish,” said Msgr. Vincent Gartland, pastor emeritus of St. Ann Parish. “A lifelong Catholic educator, Jack’s love for our school and his insights and direction have helped to create a strong, faith-based institution firmly rooted in Catholic tradition, whose students and teachers find many and creative ways to reach out to others with care and compassion. He has served as a vital part of our parish team.”

Over the past 21 years, McKenna has dedicated his time and talents to guide the students and teachers in St. Ann School in academic and spiritual growth. A major accomplishment occurred in 2010 when the school was awarded a National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence honor by the U.S. Department of Education in 2010. The honor made St. Ann School the first Catholic school in Mercer County as well as the first in the Trenton Diocese in more than 20 years to receive the award and to be ranked in the top 10 percent in the nation.

McKenna made technological advances in the school through equipping students with personal devices and promoting digital learning. He enriched the curriculum with the introduction of the STREAM program, a Catholic education initiative that takes the principle of STEM and infuses religion across all subject areas. Reflecting on his tenure, McKenna said what he regards as his greatest achievement is witnessing the many students who have graduated from the school as well as those who are currently enrolled who have grown and become committed to their faith, concerned about their community and willingness to learn.

“As a parent in St. Ann School for 16 years, Mr. McKenna’s kindness and compassion has always impressed me,” said Amy Barkley, mother of four graduates – Sarah, Kevin, Caroline and Emily.

“His caring nature set the tone for the entire school, creating a warm and nurturing environment. Parents and students alike find him approachable and understanding.”

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