New Central Catholic Principal Looking at the ‘Big Picture’

Julia Shively has only been on the job for one month and already has planned her first move to improve Wheeling Central Catholic High School’s foundation.

The Wheeling Kiwanis Club heard new Principal Shively’s plan to establish the school as a good Christian alternative, a community service partner and a stronger academic incubator.

Many improvements will start with what Shively will call the “Task Force Central.” Its first meeting will begin “at the end of August,” and it will work toward a “big picture” 10-year plan. She said she hopes to build relationships with local business leaders, community organizations and various religious leaders – not just those of Catholic faith – to “get the environment the parents want.”

“How will we get there?” she said is the ultimate question to be answered by the TFC.

Having a bachelor’s degree in science from the U.S. Air Force Academy, she said she could acknowledge the school has a “fabulous math department” with a “fabulous foundation” already in place. She said the department looks at the needs of its students each year and “caters to (students’) needs” and she wants to use the philosophy for all studies.

An example she gave is to prepare teachers for more Advanced Placement courses across all studies.

While the school already has two levels of AP Calculus and AP Chemistry, she said she would want to add AP Biology, AP English Literature and AP World Geography, to name a few.

She also said she wants to plan a “two prong” technology enhancement initiative to utilize more resources and further teachers’ professional development to integrate those tools. The school currently utilizes two computer labs and a science lab.

On enrollment, she said the total is up to 246, but she hopes to increase that.

“This will be a critical year for the school,” she said.

Because the school only exists on tuition, Shively said she will drive for more face-to-face discussions with parents to push program awareness and endowment opportunities through the Catholic Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston. She said she understands not all families can afford $4,600 for a single child or a fixed $5,800 for two or more and wishes to make known any opportunities available to parents.

She added she will also “open communication” with eastern Ohio and western Pennsylvania schools to publicize student options.

Shively did not speak toward the sports programs, but when asked about the planned East Wheeling sports field and its opportunity for the school, she said it is not a school-driven initiative.

“We would love to take advantage, but we have no hand in it,” she said.

The city of Wheeling previously authorized eminent domain to take remaining properties in the southeast block of 15th and Wood streets. One defense involved property owners and their attorneys are using is a query into whether the school is a driving force and funding source for the field, though city officials have said it is entirely a public project.