All posts tagged St. Patrick’s

Venango Region Catholic School Names President

Laura Blake, of Oil City, has been named the Venango Region Catholic School’s first president. Blake has been serving as principal at Seton Catholic School in Meadville, where she is also a faculty member.

The campuses of the Venango Region Catholic School are Venango Catholic High School and St. Stephen Elementary School in Oil City and St. Patrick Elementary School in Franklin. Blake’s “lead by example” approach has led to success at Seton both as an administrator and in the classroom as a teacher.

“Our board is excited and looking forward to beginning our work with Laura,” said Greg Merkel, chairman of the Venango Region Catholic School board of directors. “Given her wealth of knowledge and solid educational experience, we are certain that school parents, faculty, staff and the entire community will recognize her many talents and assist her in guiding the continuing evolution of our new school,” Merkel added.

Blake will immediately begin transitioning into her new role with Venango Region. She has also served as the mentor for Erie Diocese principal candidates and as a trainer for an Erie Diocese program for teachers completing Level II certification.

In addition, she has chaired a Middle States accreditation committee and served as chair for the diocesan Building in Truth and Love strategic planning committee for school-level planning.

This article was originally published in The Derrick & The News-Herald. It can be found at

Local Catholic School Teachers Participate in UPSTREAM Conference

On June 20th, four teachers from Venango Catholic High School, St. Patrick’s and St. Stephen’s Elementary VCHSSchools traveled to Loyola University in Chicago to participate in the UPSTREAM Conference. “A Paddle and a Plan” was the theme of the 2018 conference presented by The Diocese of Buffalo. STREAM, an NCEA Best Practice Model, stands for Science, Technology, Religion, Engineering, Art and Math. Participants included Debbie Mitchell (St. Stephen), Julie Parquette (St. Patrick), Katie Chandley (Venango Catholic High School), and Shani Baughman (Venango Catholic High School).

The conference highlighted the most effective components of the STREAM Education Initiative piloted at 25+ schools within the Diocese of Buffalo since 2014. The initiative has been implemented in 100+ schools across the country with great success. The program delivered a 21st Century STREAM principled agenda for teachers around the eight principles of STREAM and how to create a 21st Century STREAM culture within the classroom and school.

By sending a team of St. Stephen’s, St. Patrick’s and Venango Catholic High School teachers, the local schools envision a vertical alignment of content, skills and knowledge PreK through 12th grade. This core team will provide, via the teacher as trainer model, professional development and support for faculty and staff at all three schools. Such efforts support a cost effective model to train all of the faculty for school wide implementation vertically and horizontally.

This article was published in the Venango Area Chamber of Commerce’s July 2018 edition of the VenangoWorks! Newsletter.