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St. Bernard News Now

St. Bernard of Clairvaux parish is a family-friendly church community located in the heart of historic Wauwatosa. The mission of St. Bernard Parish is to provide the people of God with the pastoral care and spiritual nourishment they need to proclaim the Good News of Christ in their lives and to the world.This blog will inform the community of events and activities at this special parish celebrating is 100th Anniversary in 2011. Visit us online at


Announcing Wauwatosa Catholic School's First Principal

A separate blog is in-the-works for Wauwatosa Catholic School: Serving the St. Pius X and St. Bernard Parish Communities... opening Fall of 2011... but in the meantime, both Fr. Bob Marsicek and Fr. Pete Drenzek wanted to share this news.

Wauwatosa Catholic

Announcement !

February 18, 2011

Dear Valued Parents and Parishioners,

We would like to acknowledge the individuals who worked diligently to bring together two great schools, creating one vibrant school with potential to soar to greatness, supporting our children of the future. There are many people who made this possible. First, we need to recognize the two existing principals: Mr. Bruce Varick, principal of St. Pius X and Mr. Bill Strube, principal of St. Bernard. Without their assistance and support with this process, this realization would not have been possible. Their strong commitment to our children has sustained us through the years and continues as we move forward in the merger. Second, we need to recognize the parents, parishioners, teachers, and students who have supported us in this process. Their voices of support and giving us the latitude in what needs to be done were invaluable to the process of creating our new school plan Project Embrace. Lastly, we would like to thank the search committee who met frequently, reviewing numerous applications, seeking out the best principal candidate to open our new school, Wauwatosa Catholic in August of 2011. 

We are proud to announce that we have hired Julia D’Amato to be the new principal of Wauwatosa Catholic. Mrs. D’Amato, a graduate of Mount Mary College, comes to us with stellar credentials. She has been an adjunct professor at Mount Mary and an administrator at three different Milwaukee Public Schools, where she is recognized as an outstanding leader. 

Mrs. D’Amato began Ronald Wilson Reagan College Prep with 127 students. It now boasts over one thousand students and an extensive waiting list. Mrs. D’Amato has been a successful grant writer, obtaining significant funding for her many innovative initiatives. She was responsible for the planning and implementation of a very successful International Baccalaureate Programme. When she learned of our “Project Embrace” plan, she immediately observed how it could be implemented using the International Baccalaureate Programme as a foundation for a quality, rigorous program meeting the needs of all students at Wauwatosa Catholic. This program is highly acclaimed and used in many Catholic High Schools across the nation. It has been developed at the elementary, middle and high school level. 

More than anything else Mrs. D’Amato has a passion for using her talents in Catholic education at this time in her career. A faith filled Catholic, she has sent her children to Catholic schools and is very excited about meeting the challenges of beginning the new Wauwatosa Catholic.

The search committee comprised of one trustee, teacher, and school parent from St. Pius X, one trustee, teacher, and school parent from St. Bernard, and two Catholic elementary school principals from outside the district, came together and reviewed the applications of 23 candidates. The committee chose six to interview face to face. All members serving on the search committee ranked Mrs. D’Amato as their top choice. They presented their findings to us and we interviewed the top three candidates. We also agreed that Mrs. D’Amato was the best choice for Wauwatosa Catholic and offered her the position which she accepted. It is an unexpected opportunity to be able to work with someone with her credentials and experience. We believe that she will be a great leader for the St. Pius X and St. Bernard communities and will provide stability and growth for this new venture.

We will be setting up meetings for you all to have an opportunity to meet and interact with Mrs. D’Amato. Please join us in welcoming her to our new Wauwatosa Catholic.


Fr. Bob Marsicek and Fr. Peter Drenzek 


·         Serving as a teacher for 14 years, giving her a strong sense of how important the classroom is and remains in the eyes of the staff, students and community members

·         Serving as a program implementer; spearheading innovative programs to support student achievement

·         Serving as a grant writer for the schools she served; accessing hundreds of thousands of dollars in funds they would not have realized

·         Serving as an assistant principal in two large high schools

·         Starting a school from scratch in 2003 going from 127 students, 6 teachers, 1 secretary and 1 principal and growing it to 1123 students in the fall of 2010 with 15 new teachers and countless support staff with 1 assistant principal and principal

·         Applying for and receiving the International Baccalaureate (IB) affiliation for the IB Diploma Programme in 2005 and the IB Middle Years Programme in 2011 making this the first Milwaukee Public School all IB high school

·         Leading a school to get countless awards: best small rigorous high school in MPS; recipient of the Bronze award from USA News and World Report as one of the Best High Schools in the Nation


I welcome the proven expertise of Julia D’Amato. Wauwatosa Catholic and the Archdiocese have a true educational leader in Julia. I know Mrs. D’Amato is an expert in International Baccalaureate education. The mission of Catholic Schools and the Social Justice Tenants of The Church are enhanced and supported by the International Baccalaureate objectives. I was inspired when I heard that Julia felt “called by God” to dedicate herself totally to Wauwatosa Catholic’s mission. Kathleen Cepelka, PhD, Superintendent of Schools, Archdiocese of Milwaukee

“Mrs. D’Amato is in an elite group of people I hold in highest esteem due to her intelligence, leadership, genuine care and concern for all students and the success she has realized as a principal in Milwaukee Public Schools.” William G. Andrekopoulos, Superintendent

“Julia D’Amato is a hard worker, a team leader and experienced educator. She is intelligent, self-motivated and dedicated to educational excellence. She loves working with children and it shows in everything she does.” Kristi Y. Cole, Principal

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      “Julia D’Amato has used her sharp professional expertise to choose devoted teachers and install sound educational practices and improvements that continue to grow daily. I believe that Julia D’Amato is the best principal serving MPS.” Ann Carter, Teacher

 “Julia D’Amato has the ability to tap quality leadership practices to get the job done. She is adept at developing and sharing a vision and then collaborating with teachers, parents and partners to realize that vision through a clear and focused mission. Julia sets high expectations for students and staff while offering support to each in their individual growth and development. Marty Lexmond, MPS

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