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Oak Knoll Selects New Lower School Principal

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Oak Knoll has selected Christine Spies, currently the Vice Principal of St. Joseph’s School in Mendham, to be the next Lower School principal.

“I am delighted and honored to join the Oak Knoll School family,” Spies said. “I look forward to working with the school’s excellent team of highly qualified faculty and staff, with the bright, talented and faith-filled students, and with the supportive and committed school families. I look forward to continuing the high standards of faith-based leadership established by retiring principal, Mrs. Ainsworth, and supporting the educational mission set forth by founder Cornelia Connolly and the Society of the Holy Child Jesus.”

Spies, who has 15 years of experience in education, spent two full days meeting with representatives of the primary constituents at Oak Knoll (faculty, staff, administrators, parents, and students). She also had the opportunity to lead a Friday Assembly, one of the Lower School's most time-honored traditions.

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"Chris was the clear choice of each constituent group with which she met," said Head of School Timothy J. Saburn. "All sensed Chris’s personal warmth, energy, intelligence, commitment to children, and the ease with which she discussed her Catholic faith."

During her time at St. Joseph’s, Spies has taught mathematics and has been a second grade teacher in a self-contained classroom. Prior to that, she taught in private preschools in Bernardsville and Chester and taught kindergarten through second grade for 10 years in the Readington Township Schools. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education from Kean University and a master's degree in Educational Leadership, Management, and Policy through the nationally known Catholic School Leadership Program at Seton Hall University. She holds certificates as a New Jersey Principal, Elementary School teacher, and is a certified Spalding teacher of spelling and reading.

Her leadership experience is varied. During her time in Readington, Spies was a lead teacher for the Merck Institute for Science Education. While at St. Joseph’s, she worked on the school’s Middle States Accreditation, the Diocese of Paterson’s AdvancED Accreditation, and was co-author of their award winning National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence application. She has also been a curriculum coordinator and a staff professional development leader.

“I could not be more pleased with the selection of Christine Spies to be the new Lower School principal," said current Principal Joanne Ainsworth. "She exhibits a genuine appreciation of Holy Child philosophy and education. I look forward to working with her in the months ahead to create the smoothest transition to this new chapter for the Lower School.”

Spies resides in Mendham with her husband Mark, a senior systems architect, her two children Will and Morgan, and their dog Callie.

Oak Knoll School of the Holy Child is an independent Catholic school enrolling boys and girls in kindergarten through grade six; and young women only in grades seven through 12.  For more information about Oak Knoll, please visit www.oakknoll.org or call 908-522-8109.

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