SCOTTSDALE — The Most Rev. Thomas J. Olmsted, Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix, announced today that Eugene (Gene) Sweeney, Ph.D. will become the new principal at Notre Dame Preparatory in Scottsdale.
“I am humbled and honored by the opportunity to serve as principal at Notre Dame Preparatory,” Sweeney said. “This is an extraordinary community and an extraordinary group of educators and students and I look forward to serving it and them to the best of my ability.”
An experienced school administrator, Sweeney has worked in a variety of educational leadership roles, including assistant superintendent and superintendent in large and diverse school systems in the Midwest. He has also served as an adjunct professor at the University of Notre Dame.
Most recently, he has served as Assistant Principal at Seton Catholic Preparatory in Chandler. “It has been a privilege to work with the outstanding staff, students, and community at Seton. Seton Catholic Preparatory is a great school and they are on an exceptional path under the leadership of Victor Serna, the principal there,” he said. “I learned a great deal during my time at Seton and will continue to support their efforts to be an even better school than they already are. Seton has a special place in my heart. I will only be 20 minutes away and will always be available to help and support them.”
In 1995, while working as Principal at Penn High School in Mishawaka, Indiana, Sweeney received special recognition from the United States Department of Education for providing staff development in the effective implementation of technology applications in the classroom. Penn High School was awarded Blue Ribbon School status twice by the United States Department of Education during Sweeney’s tenure there. For the past 16 years, in addition to his administrative work, he has served as a consultant in schools and school districts throughout the United States and Canada.
“I’m excited to work collaboratively with Dr. Sweeney. His expertise, knowledge, and experience will help move the school forward,” said current president/principal Jill Platt, who will continue as the school’s president when Sweeney begins his official duties at NDP on July 1.
“His devotion to Catholic education is palpable and his presence on campus will be a welcome addition to our family-oriented community,” Platt added.
Sweeney is originally from Fox Lake, Illinois, and attended Saint Bede’s Grade School in Ingleside and Carmel Catholic High School in Mundelein. What brought him to Arizona was his oldest son who attended Arizona State University for his undergraduate work and then went to law school here and is now an attorney in Phoenix.
Sweeney graduated from Benedictine University in Lisle with a bachelor’s degree in literature and communications. He went on to earn a master’s degree in educational administration and a doctorate in educational leadership and policy studies, both from Loyola University, Chicago.
“My hope is that the real impact that I will have on Notre Dame Preparatory will be focusing the school on learning, collaboration, and results while providing a stable influence on the further development of the tradition of excellence for which the school is known,” Sweeney said.
He is a staunch advocate of Catholic education having spent his entire life attending Catholic schools. He believes that Catholic education is a one-of-a-kind learning experience, “Because it focuses on more than just academics,” he said. “Catholic Schools educate to develop the whole child and the whole faculty and staff member. I believe that nurturing the entire person in mind, body, and spirit is necessary for a happy, healthy, and balanced life.”
His philosophy on Catholic education is simply that, “Catholic Schools provide young people and older people with the invaluable opportunity to expand their knowledge, explore their passions, create community, strengthen their sense of self and come to know God all in one place,” he explained.
Sweeney lives in Gilbert with his wife, Maggie. They have four grown children. He enjoys hiking, biking, reading and writing.