Sept 17 - Pope John Paul II Catholic Academy Announces Appointment Of New Regional Director*

Dorchester/Mattapan, MA – September 17, 2009 -- The Board of Trustees for Pope John Paul II Catholic Academy announced the appointment of Russ W. Wilson as Regional Director.  Mr. Wilson most recently served as Principal of Blessed Sacrament School in Walpole, MA.  He succeeds Mary Russo.  Pope John Paul II Catholic Academy opened in September 2008 serving PreK-8 on five campuses in Dorchester/Mattapan.  For more information about the Academy please visit

“I am honored by the opportunity to join such a great team of principals, teachers and staff who dedicate themselves each and every day to academic excellence in an enriching Catholic school environment,” Mr. Wilson said.  “Pope John Paul II Catholic Academy has established itself as a model in Catholic education bringing the best tools and most thoughtful leadership to serving the students and community of Dorchester and Mattapan.  Our students deserve no less and I look forward to working with parents, local pastors and parishes, community leaders, and our committed Board of Trustees to insure academic achievement and a strong Catholic faith foundation so all of our students at Pope John Paul II Catholic Academy can develop into the best citizens and leaders for the future.”

Dr. Mary Grassa O'Neill, Secretary for Education/Superintendent for Catholic Schools in the Archdiocese of Boston said, “Russ brings a breadth of experience and great energy to Pope John Paul II Catholic Academy.  His dedication to Catholic Schools is exemplified in his achievements at Blessed Sacrament School.  Their test scores across all grades increased yearly, new and exciting extracurricular activities were introduced and students learned the value of service by virtue of the incredible examples set by teachers who traveled the world to help those in need.  Beyond his excellent work at Blessed Sacrament, Russ has been active across the Archdiocese designing and leading professional development programs, serving as a mentor to new principals, and helping to select new assessment systems for all elementary schools.  We are pleased to welcome Russ to Pope John Paul II Catholic Academy and we offer him our full support as he leads the school community forward.”  Dr. O’Neill also thanked Sr. Gail Donahue who is graciously serving as Interim Regional Director.   

A resident of Boston, Mr. Wilson is a 1986 graduate of Fordham University.  In 2000 he earned his Masters in Teaching from Emmanuel College.  He is currently enrolled in the Masters of Science/Administrative Leadership program at Boston College.

Since 2000, he has served as Principal of Blessed Sacrament School in Walpole, MA, a PreK-Grade 8 school with 465 students.  Among his many accomplishments, Blessed Sacrament School completed a three year facility improvement campaign with renovations of the gymnasium, science lab, technology lab, and library.  The school consistently increased the scale scores and overall percentile rankings for all grades in standardized testing.  In his tenure, he initiated an Advancement Office and Annual Fund to include major events such as the Spring Gala / Auction, Christmas Bazaar and Golf Outing and he led a four teacher delegation to West Africa to refurbish a debilitating school building.  Extracurricular activities and clubs were instituted to enhance student learning for students in grades two through eight including, among others, chess club, robotics club, and public speaking club.

From 1997-2000 he served at Holy Name Parish School in West Roxbury, MA initially as Art and Public Speaking Teacher before being named Assistant Principal.  He previously worked in the hospitality industry as a Director of Human Resources with Marriott Corporation and the Omni Parker Hotel.

Catholic schools in Dorchester/Mattapan are being revitalized through a comprehensive plan, designed at the local level. Thanks to the support of the Campaign for Catholic Schools and the Inner City Scholarship Fund, the Academy is providing an environment of academic excellence, cultivating respect for all people, and promoting Christian values within all aspects of learning.

About the Archdiocese of Boston: The Archdiocese of Boston was founded on April 8, 1808 and was elevated to Archdiocese in 1875. Currently serving the needs of nearly 2 million Catholics, the Archdiocese of Boston is an ethnically diverse and spiritually enriching faith community consisting of 292 parishes, across 144 communities, educating approximately 46,000 students in its Catholic schools and 156,000 in religious education classes each year, ministering to the needs of 200,000 individuals through its pastoral and social service outreach and in support of a health care ministry that meets the needs of some 1 million patients each year.   Mass is celebrated in nearly twenty different languages each week. For more information, please visit

About the Campaign for Catholic Schools:  The Campaign for Catholic Schools, founded in 2007, is an outgrowth of the 2010 Initiative for Catholic Education, working to help implement its recommendations.  Chaired by Boston business leader Jack Connors, Jr., the CCS is raising the private philanthropic support needed to rebuild Catholic schools in Greater Boston.  Currently, the CCS is focused on raising $70 million in capital and major programmatic support for Pope John Paul II Catholic Academy and the Catholic Charities Teen Center at St. Peter, Dorchester.  To date, over $47 million has been raised toward its goal.

Inner City Scholarship Fund:  Since its inception in 1991, the Inner City Scholarship Fund, the signature program of the Catholic Schools Foundation, has provided over $65,000,000 in scholarship support for students to attend Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Boston, as well as providing technology, counseling and marketing support for the schools. As this transformative project is underway, the Inner City Scholarship Fund is working in collaboration with the Campaign for Catholic Schools and the 2010 Dorchester/Mattapan Implementation team to ensure that no student is denied admission because of an inability to pay tuition.