Skip To Main Content

Head of School

Head of School Posts

This post contains the full text of Head of School Jeff Bell's weekly message sent via email to all parents, students and educators.

Head of School Jeff Bell stands in front of the Mission Wall in the main lobby.

Mr. Jeff Bell begins his tenure as the first Head of School in the 110-year history of Cardinal Gibbons on July 1, 2020.

Over the last two months, Bell has been working with Interim Principal Nancy Barkan, the Board of Directors, diocesan leaders, and educators to make the leadership transition at Gibbons as smooth as possible.

Head of School Jeff Bell

This post contains the full text of Head of School Jeff Bell's weekly message sent via email to all parents, students and educators.

August 31, 2020

Dear Cardinal Gibbons Community,

I hope you had a restful and relaxing weekend. I want to give you an update on where things stand with COVID-19 at Cardinal Gibbons. An additional five cases have been reported, which brings us to 11 total cases. Four of these five new cases appear to be linked to a group of four cases that we discovered were connected to one another last week, which makes for eight related cases. According to the health department, this is officially a cluster. While I know that word has taken on an entirely new connotation in recent months, I do want to be clear that this connected group is split among the Green, Gold, and virtual groups and, to our knowledge, they contracted the virus off campus, like all of our cases to date. So, while, by definition, this is a cluster, it is by common association, not by location of transmission (like a dorm or nursing home). 

I have been in extensive conversation with the Wake County Health Department, the Diocese, the Board, and members of the administrative team over the past weekend to determine our next best steps as a school. Wake County Health Department officials are not recommending that we close the school or alter our current protocols. If at any time in the future we confirm that multiple related transmissions of the virus took place on campus, this may change the guidance we receive from health professionals. If necessary, we are prepared to close the campus for two weeks and would provide clear direction to all community members about expected behavior during that time period. 

At this time, I have a simple request. We have made it relatively easy to transition between remote and on-campus learning. As such, if your student has been at risk of contracting the virus through an off-campus gathering, please don’t share that risk with our community. Please keep the student at home until you are sure that he/she is not a carrier of the virus. If it does become clear that a student is knowingly putting our community at risk, then we may require online learning for a period of time. We will be adding this language to our handbook this week, but this policy is in effect immediately.

Additionally, if you have a pending COVID test, you should not be at school. If you have been advised to quarantine by a licensed healthcare professional, a negative COVID test does not mean you are free to return to school. We need documentation from your healthcare provider that you can return to campus. 

Also, following the advice of our COVID Task Force, if a student is exposed and quarantined, no matter if his/her test is positive or negative, all Gibbons siblings who live in the home need to remain off campus until the exposed student is cleared by a healthcare provider. 

This year is unique. Our goal is to continue to provide on-campus learning for our students so that they are able to make safe social connections with friends, have a robust and meaningful educational experience, and be a part of the vibrant Gibbons community. We need your help to make this possible. 

Moving forward, we will continue to let you know as soon as possible if it comes to our attention that your student was in class, in advisory, or in close contact with an infected student while on campus. Additionally, we will provide community-wide updates on a weekly basis and are exploring providing an infographic on our website so that you can easily access COVID-related reporting information at any time. 

Thanks again for your essential partnership and cooperation as we navigate through these unprecedented times. 


Jeff Bell
Head of School 

Board of Directors

The Cardinal Gibbons High School Board of Directors for 2019-2020

Rev. Bill John Acosta-Escobar
Rev. John Durbin
Mr. Jeff Gredvig
Mrs. Annette Jay
Mrs. Megan Mazzocchi - Vice Chair
Rev. Scott McCue
Mrs. Kathleen Olechovsky
Mrs. Pat Phillips
Mr. Blaine C. Short
Mr. Tim Throndson - Chair
Mr. Tyler Zimmerman '12

Staff to the Board:
Mrs. Nancy Barkan
Dr. John Pendergrass 

Cardinal Gibbons High School Liaison:
Mrs. Kendra Burns 

More from Gibbons