Retired educator and Weirton resident Richard M. Barnabei has been appointed acting superintendent of Catholic Schools for the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston. He replaces Sister Elaine Poitras, C.S.C., who stepped down as superintendent Dec. 31.
Barnabei has more than 39 years of experience in education, serving as a teacher, administrator, grant writer and consultant.
"I am so pleased that Richard Barnabei has joined our staff as acting superintendent," said the Most Rev. Michael J. Bransfield, bishop of the diocese. "Catholic education is always a high priority in the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, and it is wonderful to have another accomplished professional join our Department of Catholic Schools."
Through his role as acting superintendent, Barnabei said he will be evaluating the operations of diocesan schools while, at the same time, spearheading the search for a new superintendent.
"I am excited," Barnabei said about taking on the position. "I see this as an extension of parish life ... an extension of doing something for the church."
Barnabei previously served as assistant superintendent of Hancock County Schools and as an independent education consultant from 2005 to 2008. He has a bachelor's degree in elementary/special education from the University of Tennessee and a master's in school administration from the University of Dayton. He also did post-graduate work at West Virginia University, the Justice Center of Atlanta and the West Virginia Center for Dispute Resolution and the Better Business Bureau. He also has professional certification in a number of educational areas.
Barnabei began his career in education as a special education teacher at the elementary school level in Roan County, Tenn., where he served from 1971-72. He then went on to serve Hancock County Schools for the next 35 years through a number of roles.
He served as a special education teacher at Dunbar School from 1972-75, apprentice principal at Cove School from 1975-78 and principal of Dunbar School from 1976-78.
Barnabei served as coordinator of special education for Hancock County Schools from 1978-79 with the added role of coordinator of comprehensive planning for the schools from 1979-83. He then served as director of daily operations of the John D. Rockefeller IV Career Center from 1981-82 and as principal of Broadview School from 1983-94. He went on to serve Hancock County Schools as director of pupil services, Title IX and sex equity from 1994-96; and in staff development from 1996-2000. He also served as director of operations and in Title VI and federal programs. In 2009, he became the athletic director at Madonna High School in Weirton, where he continues to serve today.
Barnabei is a member of St. Joseph the Worker Catholic Church in Weirton, where he is a member of the parish council. He also serves on the board of directors of the Child Advocacy Council and is a member of the Knights of Columbus board.