Martin A. Ahrens, Ph.D
Head of School
Prior to joining Cardinal Newman, Dr. Ahrens served in a broad range of leadership roles. He has extensive experience in executive level corporate consulting, marketing and fund-raising, teaching at the college level, counseling both teens and adults as a life coach, and professional writing. He is an active member of St. Bridget Parish, including regular service as a Mass lector, membership in the Knights of Columbus, ongoing formation as a Third Order Carmelite, and has consecrated his life to Jesus through Mary. Dr. Ahrens most recently worked as the Director of Marketing and Development for a Catholic retreat house. He earned his PhD from McGill University in Environmental Biology. As an undergraduate, he double majored in Biology and Philosophy with a minor in Mathematics. Dr. Ahrens joined Cardinal Newman Academy in response to the apostolic call to help young people discover the joyful rewards of a life rooted in classic virtues, rigorous academics and the Catholic faith. He currently teaches Philosophy to Upper School students.
Eileen M Lapington, PhD
Preparing children for the 21st century workplace is a must in today’s world.
“The rigor of academics at Cardinal Newman Academy promises to fulfill this part of our school’s mission. But preparation for a career and financial security alone do not fulfill the longings of the human heart. Our education goes further: to teach our students virtue; to help students cultivate a close relationship with God that is rooted in daily prayer; and to inspire our students to seek in wonder and serve with joy.”
Eileen M. Lapington
Board of Directors
Eryka D. O’Herron grew up in Vienna, Virginia. One of five children, Eryka attended Our Lady of Good Counsel School in Vienna and Seton School in Manassas, Virginia. Attending this small independent Catholic high school had such a profound effect on Eryka’s life, that it became the inspiration for the founding of Cardinal Newman Academy.
In 2002, Eryka graduated from Marymount University in Arlington, Virginia, with an Associate Degree in Nursing. Eryka worked part time as a Medical-Surgical nurse at Winchester Medical Center, while earning her Bachelor of Arts in English Language and Literature from Christendom College in Front Royal, Virginia.
Eryka Graduated from Christendom College in 2005. She and her husband John were married in November of 2006. Eryka and John live in Bon Air with their five children. They are parishioners at Saint Benedict Catholic Church and their children attend Saint Benedict Catholic School, St. Gregory the Great Academy, and Cardinal Newman Academy.
Eryka has been involved with Cardinal Newman Academy from the beginning, as a support for John-the founding President of the Board. In 2021, she began to take on a more active role in the school. Eryka is currently on the Board of Directors for both Cardinal Newman Academy and Holy Infant Paideia Hybrid School. Eryka wears many hats at Cardinal Newman, including coach for both girls volleyball and girls basketball, the Freshman Theology teacher, the school nurse, and Director of Recruitment. Eryka is a firm believer in faithful Catholic education, and holds that, “Our goal is to teach and inspire each and every one of our students to know, love, and serve God in this life, so that they might be happy with Him forever in the next life.”
In her free time, Eryka is an avid reader, enjoys sewing and rosary making for her Etsy shop, teaching new people about the “Wonder Worker” St. Anthony, and playing volleyball and basketball.
Frank has spent his entire legal career in Richmond, working both in private practice and as in-house counsel. He currently serves as International Corporate Counsel for The Brink’s Company, where he has been since 2009. Prior to that Frank was Senior Attorney and Vice President at Wachovia Securities.
In 1998 Frank joined St. Bridget parish, actively participating in its legislative advocacy and educational endeavors. St. Bridget school board for 8 years and the diocesan school board for 7 years.
Frank worked alongside the Virginia Catholic Conference and other allies in helping pass the Educational Improvement Scholarship Tax Credit bill in 2012, which has led to the enrollment of over a thousand low-income children in Catholic elementary and high schools across the Commonwealth.
Frank lives in Midlothian with his wife, Maureen, and their six children, all of whom have attended St. Bridget School.
Denny Pregent grew up in Sidney, Ohio and attended Holy Angels Catholic School for his early education and Gregory the Great Academy in Pennsylvania for high school. After graduating high school Denny gave back a year to Gregory the Great working as a tutor, athletics coach, music teacher, and pilgrimage leader.
Denny received his bachelor of arts in philosophy from Christendom College. He was a founder of the Christendom College Rugby Club and volunteered as a coach after graduating. Denny subsequently received assisted living and nursing home administrator licensure at Harrisburg Community College and Marywood University, respectively.
Denny served as the Director of Youth Apostolate for St. Andrew the Apostle Church in Clifton, VA before transitioning into a career in long term care. Since 2014 Denny has worked as a Senior Regional Director for Coordinated Services Management, developing and operating non-profit senior care communities for religious organizations.
Denny has served on ECPI University’s Healthcare Administration Advisory Board and currently serves as a board member of the Virginia Assisted Living Association dedicated to providing advocacy, communication, education, and resources for Virginia’s assisted living industry.
Denny and his wife Lindsay have four children, and Denny is an avid reader and hockey player.
Victor Prieto, Founder and President of the Foundation for Catholic Education, joined our leadership team in conjunction with the partnership between Cardinal Newman Academy and the Foundation for Catholic Education.
After earning his MBA at Georgetown University, Victor worked in corporate banking in Mexico, Canada, and the United States. He left banking to become the Director of Finance of a Catholic religious congregation and has been involved in the closing and launching of schools, as well as the transferring of schools to local independent boardsVictor’s passion and inspiration for transforming the landscape of Catholic education is the fruit of years of dedicating himself to Catholic schools and finance.
He has negotiated bank financing for Catholic schools in excess of $20 million, issued tax-exempt bonds for Catholic schools in excess of $40 million, and successfully renegotiated tax-exempt bonds and bank financing after the 2008 financial crisis.
Victor brings invaluable passion, knowledge, and experience to our Board at an exciting time of growth and momentum. We are grateful to Victor and the Foundation for recognizing the strength and vision at Cardinal Newman Academy, and for partnering with us in achieving our shared vision for education.
Dr. Aaron Maddeford has been teaching for the past 12 years at every level from middle school to college. He received a bachelors in liberal arts from Thomas Aquinas College in California, and a doctorate in philosophy from The Catholic University of America. He was a teacher and the academic dean at St. Benedict’s School before moving to Williamsburg to help start Veritas Preparatory Academy.
He worked there for six years, teaching, designing the curriculum, and finally serving as headmaster. He currently teaches philosophy at John Tyler Community College.
He also serves on the board of directors at A Simple House, a Catholic organization that ministers to the poor in Kansas City and Washington DC.