Story by Dorothy K. LaMantia | Correspondent
When Madeline Kinloch greets the faculty and students of St. Joseph Grammar School, Toms River, as their new principal in September, she will not be a stranger to the campus.
Since 1977, the year she graduated from West Chester State University, Pa., with a bachelor of science degree in health, physical education and recreation, Kinloch has practiced the art and science of teaching – first in St. Joseph Grammar School, then at Donovan Catholic High School, Toms River, from 2007 to 2014. In 2007, she was awarded a master of arts degree in administration and curriculum development from Georgian Court University, Lakewood.
Her history with the parish and school precedes her career.
“I am a native of Toms River, born and bred in St. Joseph Parish,” she said, noting that she attended St. Joseph Grammar School as a child as well as St. Joseph High School. Her mother taught eighth grade in St. Joseph Grammar School for 29 years.
Crediting her mother, a brother who taught in the high school and her teachers at St. Joseph for inspiring her career, memories of them color her vision of the way she hopes to direct the school’s future. She cherishes her experiences in St. Joseph Parish and its elementary and secondary schools, remembering it as a “community with family feeling, a close-knit faculty. Many teachers had their own children enrolled.”
Indeed, Kinloch and her husband of 26 years, Bruce, can relate. Their two sons, Thomas and Jason, both attended St. Joseph Grammar School and Donovan Catholic High School.
St. Joseph Grammar School is a K through eight school with an enrollment of 600 children and 50 faculty and staff members. There are two pre-K classes, one for 3-year-olds, the other for 4-year-olds, containing a total of 65 pupils.
Kinloch will oversee technological innovation including the piloting of a social studies e-book for sixth through eighth grades and an expansion of the iPad program, which will increase the number of iPads available on iPad carts. Students in grade six through eight will be allowed to use their own iPads in the classroom.
“I hope to bring a sense of camaraderie, family concern and appreciation for each other to the school and to create opportunities for the faculty to spend more time together,” she said.
The new principal looks to her faith life to meet the challenges posed by the school’s physical sprawl and demands of academic achievement – for teachers and students.
“Faith is important to me,” she said. “It’s important that I share it with children and youth. In Catholic schools, children get high academics, but they’re getting so much more because faith formation makes them stronger people.”
Kinloch intends to continue fostering the pre-K through 12th grade complex, which will bridge the learning gap between the elementary, middle and high schools.
“Here, our kids can see their future in the Catholic experience. Older kids have so much to bring to the younger ones. I look to the Donovan Catholic faith ministry to provide retreats and community service projects for the elementary school,” she said.
Kinloch and her husband are also involved in service. Both are among the leaders of Group of Extraordinary Students (GOES), a mission/service program begun at Donovan Catholic in which students and teachers build houses in the Dominican Republic.
Kinloch looks forward to bringing her passion for learning and service to her new position. “I am in a unique position to bridge a gap not just in academics but spiritually and in service. I’m so excited to get started.”