St. Thomas Aquinas announces two additions to leadership team
St. Thomas Aquinas High School and Middle School is excited to announce the selection of Aquinas alumnus Cara (Wood) Pribula as the new principal. Pribula is a 1995 graduate of St. Thomas Aquinas and has been an educator at St. Peter Catholic School for nearly two decades. While at St. Peter, she has been noted as an excellent educator, leading her classes to high achievement levels, as well as being an educator who is equally focused on encouraging the character and faith development of her students given her commitment to the Catholic faith. She received the Diocese of Youngstown Golden Apple Award in 2016 and has been nominated as a Stark County Teaching Team Member as a result of her leadership skills both inside and outside of the classroom.
Pribula has served in a number of roles, in addition to her role as a classroom teacher, that have prepared her to meet the needs of the Aquinas community. She has been a committee member for the Ohio Catholic School Accrediting Association and a resident educator mentor for the last eight years. In addition, she holds an Elementary Catechist Certificate, is a teaching with technology specialist, and has designed and conducted professional development in technology workshops for the Diocese of Youngstown.
After graduation from Aquinas, she continued her education in a Catholic setting. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education from Walsh University and will graduate this fall with a Master’s in Education, also from Walsh. As part of her continuing education, she has been a candidate in the Diocese of Youngstown’s and Walsh University’s leadership program intended to prepare current teachers for senior administrative positions, such as principal.
Pribula shares that she is looking forward to returning to her alma mater, “walking the halls of St. Thomas again and making a difference in the community that has always meant so much to me,” noting that “the Aquinas community has always been an extended family. I look forward to working with our team of outstanding educators and Aquinas supporters to realize our mission of Truth, Scholarship, and Excellence.”
Along with the hiring of Pribula, comes the exciting news that enrollment, for the upcoming school year, has gone up more than 40 students, the highest enrollment growth in years. Due to that growth, school administrators have decided that a principal and associate principal model will be implemented, in order to assure that academic success and a focus on faith and discipline continues at every level.
Pribula will be joined by John Stanley, who will serve as associate principal. Stanley has a rich history of education experience. He has served in a number of roles such as superintendent/principal at Lake Center Christian School, the business manager of North Canton City Schools, and as principal at a number of schools districts including North Canton, Alliance, and Louisville. He has also served in the Youngstown Diocese Catholic Schools, having acted as principal at St. Paul, North Canton, and Sacred Heart of Mary, Louisville.
As a 1974 graduate of St. Thomas Aquinas, John Stanley is no stranger to academic excellence or an educational experience steeped in the Catholic faith. After Aquinas, Stanley went on to the University of Dayton, a Catholic university, where he received his Bachelor of Science in Education. He also did post-graduate work at Walsh University, the University of Akron, and Ashland University. Stanley has a Master’s in Educational Administration and has done Post-Master’s studies in Educational Administration.
Stanley has a passion for education and has received recognition throughout his career for his excellence in education. He was elected to the Ohio Middle School Association Executive Board, received an Excellent Rating by the Ohio Department of Education multiple years, was a finalist among the Top 100 Executive Educators, and was elected into the Catholic Educators National Conference. He has been a member of the Ohio Middle Level Association, Ohio Education Association, and Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. Stanley also has extensive experience in setting high academic and discipline standards in a diverse community, having led multiple conferences and publishing research on the importance of inclusion in the classroom.
President of Stark County Catholic High Schools, Dan Gravo, is enthusiastic about this new principal duo, stating that he believes that Ms. Pribula and Mr. Stanley will offer the St. Thomas community just what it needs.
“Together, these two candidates offer an impressive resume in education, offering both wisdom and experience but also energy and knowledge of recent trends in education,” Gravo said. “We believe these selections will provide strong leadership, rooted in faith, and a passion for Aquinas that is unmatched, and that will be infectious. They understand our community and have what it will take to lead our school long into the future.”