Call it the second coming.
A Bay Ridge Catholic school that was slated to close this spring will reopen in the fall with a new name and new leadership.
The Our Lady of Angels school was on a list of six Catholic schools that the Diocese of Brooklyn planned to shut down — but after protests from parents and a proposal by educators to implement a new organizational structure, officials decided to allow the school to be resurrected in September as the Holy Angels Academy.
When it reopens, the 74th Street school will distance itself from the Our Lady of Angels parish by introducing a board of directors comprised of lay people who will make some financial and administrative decisions.
“It will still be a Catholic school, but there will be a change in governance,” said Principal Rosemarie McGoldrick.
Current students at the pre-kindergarten to eighth grade school will be welcomed to attend the new academy, and the tuition will remain near the $3,700 that parents already pay, McGoldrick said.
With declining enrollment at some parish schools placing a growing burden on the parishes themselves, all Brooklyn Catholic schools are scheduled to be converted into such academies within five years, according to Father Kieran Harrington, a spokesman for the diocese.
“We want our priests to be priests — not the guy running the school’s daily operations. We want our principals to be focusing on the quality of the education — not worrying about leaking roofs,” he said. “It’s going to make the diocese stronger because it’s going to put the people who have competence in each area responsible for their area of competency.”
Even though Our Lady of Angels teachers face the prospect of losing their jobs during the conversion from parish school to academy, morale is high among faculty according to the principal.
“Change is not easy, but we are very positive about it,” McGoldrick said. “This is not about whether or not we hire people back. It’s about having the best school you can for the children.”
Parents are equally pleased.
“This is fantastic news,” said Rachel Connolly, a mother of a kindergartner and a third grader and president the parent’s association. “Our school will stay open and we can only go forward towards a bright future. I’m hopeful for the best.”