We’re moving! It’s been a busy couple of months for us at Cardinal Newman Academy, and we are thrilled to announce that our new home is in Bon Air, in northern Chesterfield County. We have agreed to a four-year lease to rent the school building formerly occupied by St. Michael’s Episcopal Elementary School at 8706-A Quaker Lane, Bon Air, VA, 23235. Along with welcoming our new Head of School, Steve Fitzpatrick, this move is a significant milestone in our continued growth as we enter our third academic year.
At our new campus, we now have expanded amenities and room to grow. Inside, we are renting approximately 7,000 sq. feet, which includes an office, four large classrooms, and a large Atrium. We also enjoy shared use of a kitchen, stage, and multi-purpose room. We are excited to also have shared use of a gym (pictured above, on the left), outdoor basketball courts, and fields. These amenities will allow us to continue expanding our athletic, academic, and extra-curricular offerings. We will also be able to create, for the first time, a school chapel.
In many ways, the West End facility we opened in was perfect for our size and needs. As we enter our third year and look ahead to sustained growth into the future, we could not be more thrilled with our new facility. We look forward to completing our move and opening our doors to welcome you, our community of supporters, to our exciting new space.
John P. O’Herron
On behalf of our Board of Directors, I am pleased to announce that Cardinal Newman Academy is officially in the candidacy phase for canonical recognition by His Excellency, Bishop Knestout, as an independent Catholic school.
The Diocesan process includes review of both the academic and spiritual life at Cardinal Newman Academy. The candidacy phase will continue until the Office of Catholic Schools conducts a review and offers a recommendation to the Bishop based on our curriculum and instruction. This review is tentatively scheduled for the 2020-21 school year.
In addition, the Vicar for Catholic Mission and Vision will review our adherence to the Diocesan religion curriculum and education guidelines. Following these reviews, Bishop Knestout will make a determination of our status as a Catholic school.
Since our founding, our efforts have been directed at growing an excellent college preparatory high school, preparing our students for college and the modern world, and contributing to the life of the Church here in Richmond and beyond. Critical to these goals is our desire that Cardinal Newman Academy be imbued with the spirit of the Gospel and in communion with the Bishop of Richmond.
We are grateful for this milestone in our continue growth and look forward to working with His Excellency, the Office of Catholic Schools, and the Vicar for Catholic Mission and Vision.
John P. O’Herron
I often stress to parents that we seek to both educate and form our students. Yes, we teach important content knowledge, but our students will graduate as more than mere competent thinkers. We aim to form virtuous, thoughtful, and ethical people. An example of this approach is how we teach math.
We think about math as more than just a technical discipline at the service of college or career; it is instead a field of study that demands the habit of careful reasoning, the fluidity of creative thinking, and the rigor of logical contemplation. This method begins with our Middle School Math Circle. Open to students in grades 6-8, the Math Circle explores a variety of mathematical topics by posing a question or problem with a low bar to entry but a high ceiling for discovery – some topics are the sorts of problems that graduate students study for their dissertations! The students work together to parse the wording of the problem, model the questions being posed, and use creative reasoning to work towards a solution.
Our high school math curriculum builds on these habits of mind that we teach in the Math Circle. Our math classes demand deep understanding of mathematical principles. When introducing new topics or problems, though, we offer students encouragement and opportunities for applying critical thought and creative reasoning to arrive at a solution. Through this deeper engagement, students acquire an understanding of the logic of mathematical principles and an appreciation for the depth and beauty of mathematics.
Our goal for our students is not that they achieve mere technical competence, but that they form the habits of reasoning and diligence required for both technical success and human fulfillment.
As the summer quickly approaches, I am looking forward to moving to Richmond and beginning the next chapter in my life as the Head of School at Cardinal Newman Academy. I am excited to get started.
But what exactly am I excited about? What is my goal for CNA? It is simple: to have it be the best school in the country. I want our school to offer students the best possible experience of the truth in all of its glorious and wonderful facets. Although these facets present different aspects of the truth, it is good to recall that all study of truth is fundamentally the study of one thing: God. This ultimate reality of things will permeate and order the academic experience at Cardinal Newman Academy.
Too often, schools fail to offer students anything resembling a rational whole because they have no integer: no one thing that orders and gives meaning to everything in the course of studies. Without such an integrating principle, education seems arbitrary at best and meaningless at worst. This will not be the case at Cardinal Newman Academy. Everything relating to the life of the school will have its proper place, understood in light of the integrating principle of the school.
I am excited to begin this noble mission at Cardinal Newman Academy. I look forward to meeting you all and working with you to make this school a truly great place. As St. Paul reminds us, we can do all things in Christ. Please pray for me and pray for the continued success of Cardinal Newman Academy.
Incoming Head of School
Cardinal Newman Academy
With great excitement, I am pleased to announce the hiring of our next Head of School: Stephen Fitzpatrick. Starting this Fall, Steve will lead our continued growth and will work closely with the Board of Directors and faculty in shepherding our vision for a unique academic and faith environment that serves the Richmond Catholic community.
He will also work closely with Dr. Eileen Lapington, who will be stepping down from her role as Director at the end of the academic year. Eileen looks forward to contributing to the life and growth of our school in new ways, both inside and outside the classroom.
Steve holds an undergraduate degree in the Liberal Arts from Thomas Aquinas College and a master’s degree in Theology from the University of Scranton.
Steve has been a teacher, administrator, and coach in several public and Catholic schools in both Canada and the United States, most recently Gregory the Great Academy in Pennsylvania where he currently teaches. He has taught a wide array of disciplines including Latin, algebra, geometry, humanities, physics, science, music, and writing. He has also held several administrative positions and has considerable experience in teacher training and development.
Steve and his wife Vanessa are the proud parents of five children, and in his spare time he enjoys playing music, reading, and playing with his kids. Steve has contributed to Crisis Magazine and has lectured at the Wojtyla Summer Institute for Teachers.
“I am excited and humbled by the opportunity to join the wonderful team at Cardinal Newman Academy and will strive every day to be worthy of the great trust and responsibility placed in me. I look forward to begin working with the young men and women at the school and helping them ‘to reach out towards truth, and to grasp it.’ It is my goal to lead a school where the academic life is rigorous yet joyful, where the students and teachers alike look forward to being there, and where we all grow in wonder, wisdom, and holiness together.”
We have been immeasurably blessed by Eileen’s leadership as our Founding Director, and we are grateful for her continued role at Cardinal Newman Academy moving forward. And as we welcome Steve as our Head of School, we thank our community for your support and prayers as we continue to build our vision for education in Richmond.
John P. O’Herron
Cardinal Newman Academy