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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.

September 16, 2020

Dear Gibbons Community,

We have been blessed this week with incredible weather and just finished our Community Day with the Class of 2021. Our first major school event on the newly turfed field was not an athletic contest, but a Mass celebrating our senior class--a metaphor for the unexpected nature of this school year as well as a reminder of who we are as a community.

As we round the corner on the first month of the school year and as academics and other pressures begin to mount, we have all recognized that one of the greatest challenges that we face this year is also what keeps us safe: masks. When I spoke to the seniors this morning, I talked about how this year is going to be memorable. The big question is how are we going to remember it? 

It got me thinking about how, especially this year, we have to SEE things differently because we can’t rely on reading someone’s facial expression to interpret and understand them. This is particularly hard for educators, who are both trying to build authentic relationships and teach content without the benefit of seeing their students’ faces. 

The renowned essayist, Annie Dillard, has this to say about seeing: “We must somehow take a wider view, look at the whole landscape, really see it, and describe what's going on here. Then we can at least wail the right question into the swaddling band of darkness, or, if it comes to that, choir the proper praise.” 

This year, we are taking that wider view and doing our best to “choir the proper praise,” or at least ask the right questions. We continue to find the balance of how to safely interact with one another and recreate our community for this COVID-19 era. 

Although we cannot wait until this pandemic ends and we are all together again, we also know that we will never see the world the same way. This new, forced perspective has already yielded benefits: we can keep Gibbons together, even on Zoom; our educators are extraordinarily innovative; and our students are extremely adaptive and understanding. 

Most importantly, these kinds of discoveries will make us stronger, not only now, but in the long term. God’s grace arrives in unusual ways, and sometimes we have to look at something differently to really see it. 

Stay safe and healthy.


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 

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