On March 30, St. John’s announced that Dana Watson will be joining the SJC community this summer as the school’s new assistant principal for student life.
Her appointment is the result of an extensive search and interview process by St. John’s Search Committee, which included Chris Themistos, SJC principal; Shannon O’Laughlin, assistant principal for academic affairs; Tom Sipowicz, director of mission integration; and Julie Mitchell, director of school counseling.
Watson has an impressive background as both a school administrator and teacher. Since 2017, she has served as the dean of students at McKinley Technical High School in Washington, DC. There she led the redesign of the school’s model for restorative justice practices, championed a character development program, introduced a new behavioral management system, increased student involvement in the summer bridge program and spearheaded the development of 1:1 device policy for the school.
From 2016-2017, Watson was the assistant principal at Eliot-Hine Middle School, also in Washington, DC. There she Introduced new peer-observation protocols and a new lesson plan template, increased family engagement participation, spurred a decrease in students performing below average in Scholastic Reading Inventory (SRI) assessment and directed the development of new faculty professional development. From 2014-2016, as International Baccalaureate (IB) Middle Years Program coordinator, she guided the school through the successful achievement of full authorization as an IB World School and the school’s adoption of the Middle Years Program.
She began her career in education at as a teacher at Eliot-Hine, where she taught sixth grade from 2011-2014. Based on her success, she was selected to serve as a mentor within the George Washington University Teachers Program and to engage as a member of the school’s Academic Leadership Team.
Watson is a graduate of Elizabeth Seton High School, a Catholic high school in Bladensburg, MD. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Bucknell University and a master’s degree from Boston University, and she will complete a certificate in educational leadership and administration at George Washington University this year. In 2019, she completed the New and Aspiring Leaders Program at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education. She resides in Washington, DC, with her three daughters Chloe, Cameron and Lily.
“As a proud alumna of both St. Anthony’s Catholic School and Elizabeth Seton High School, I wholeheartedly believe that a Catholic school education gives every student a unique opportunity to become truly well-rounded,” Watson said. “My time at Seton was centered around values, character and scholastic development, which has given me a foundation that continues to impact the educational work I do today.”