Mechelke named new SJNCC principal; Derbyshire on campus

St. John Neumann Catholic School search committee recently chose Dr. Kelly Mechelke as its new principal.

She replaces longtime principal Bill Derbyshire, who last year stepped into a new role leading a strategic planning process for the parish and school and assisting with special projects.

“Bill, our loving principal of 14 years, will remain on campus serving both the church and the school with his many gifts,” SJN Church and School pastor, the Rev. Joe Reed, stated in an e-mail to parishioners.

“Our new principal, Kelly, brings her own gifts to help us grow for the next several years,” he further stated.

“I feel blessed that I will be a part of St. John Neumann’s team,” Mechelke stated in Reed’s e-mail. “I am looking forward to adding to St. John Neumann’s positive, faith-filled culture.”

“I know that she is eager to meet everyone,” Reed stated about the new principal. “Dr. Mechelke will be visiting SJNCS sometime in April and May. We will arrange an opportunity for the community to welcome her. 

“SJNCS is such a wonderful place of blessing — and that has been on display in a special way throughout our Principal Search Process,” he further stated. “It has been a time of prayer, discernment and collaboration as we have talked with several wonderful candidates, any of whom could be a great principal.

“We are blessed to welcome to the St. John Neumann Catholic School family Dr. Kelly Mechelke. Kelly is a life-long learner.”

As for her education, “she has a bachelor’s degree in early education and special education,” Reed stated. “She holds a masters degree in administration and director of instruction.

“Most recently she earned a Ph.D. (degree) in educational leadership,” he added. “She has been a teacher in the classroom, a K-12 curriculum coordinator, an assistant principal and president of a prek-12 school system and a school principal. She has seen that positive relationships, trust and accountability are what build a strong and caring culture.”

Mechelke “is ecstatic to be a part of St. John Neumann’s community and is looking forward to meeting all of you,” the pastor also stated.