Theresa Ryan-Szott has been named the first lay principal of St. Basil Academy. She was most recently director of secondary personnel in the Office of Catholic Education for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.
Ryan-Szott begins her new administration Feb. 4, the opening of the new semester.
Historically, the position of principal has always been held by a member of the Order of the Sisters of St. Basil the Great. Selecting a qualified person to carry on the mission of educating young women established by the Sisters at St. Basil Academy in Fox Chase Manor in 1931 required extensive searching and deliberation by the Board of Trustees.
Ryan-Szott, a native Philadelphian, was educated in the elementary and secondary schools of the Philadelphia Archdiocese. She graduated from Wheeling Jesuit University with degrees in theology and history and obtained her Master of Arts degree in religious studies from St. Charles Borromeo Seminary and Master of Arts degree in educational leadership from St. Joseph’s University.
She taught in Catholic high schools in New York City and New Jersey and then in the Philadelphia Archdiocese as department chairperson and teacher at Archbishop Ryan High School. She served as assistant principal for academic affairs at John W. Hallahan Catholic Girls High School, assistant principal for student services at Kennedy-Kenrick Catholic High School and assistant principal for student services at Conwell-Egan Catholic High School.
Ryan-Szott’s academic career has also included leadership roles and initiating innovative curriculum programs in the archdiocesan school system. Throughout her professional career she has maintained membership in professional organizations and by attendance at seminars relating to youth and trends in education and professional development.
In her new capacity as principal of St. Basil’s Academy, Ryan-Szott hopes “to carry on the educational mission and spirituality of the Sisters of St. Basil and the teachings of the Church and to academically prepare (our) daughters to make a difference in the world.
“We are a faith based school that educates the whole person, providing an atmosphere that is academically challenging, spiritually nourishing and socially enriching. An all-girls school such as St. Basil’s provides a setting for growth, empowerment and the opportunity to form women leaders in accord with the teachings of Jesus and the Church.
“I am humbled by my appointment and I hope to help make St. Basil Academy the school of choice for all young women and their parents,” Ryan-Szott said.
She and her husband, Walter, reside in Southampton, Bucks County, where they
are members of Our Lady of Good Counsel Parish. They are the parents of three grown children,
Katie, Jonathan and Lara.