St. Mary’s announces J.B. Watters as new principal

BIG RAPIDS – As the new principal of St. Mary Catholic School, Joseph B. Watters looks forward to coming home to Michigan.

Originally from Mount Pleasant, Watters taught in Texas before spending 10 years in the educational technology business. He then became principal of All Saints Central High School in Bay City before moving to the Washington, D.C., area, where he served as principal of Saint Michael the Archangel High School and St. John’s Elementary School.

JB Watters

Watters will begin his position at St. Mary’s on July 9. He and his wife, Cecilia, and daughter, Ashley Rose, attended Mass on Sunday at St. Mary’s, and Watters said they received a warm welcome. Ashley Rose will enter eighth grade at St. Mary’s this fall.

“It seems like a great community, and St. Mary’s seems like a great place to be,” he said. “From what I’ve seen, the school – academically and spiritually – is in good shape.”

Some of Watters’ goals for his first year at St. Mary’s include continuing to increase enrollment and expanding the school’s marketing efforts.

“I want to make sure anybody who wants a Catholic education can get one,” he said.

Watters takes over the role from retiring principal Barb Borth, who held the position for six years.

“Mr. Watters is regarded as a fair and even-tempered person who will enhance our curriculum and continue the traditional high test scores here at St. Mary’s,” Borth said in a press release. “Mr. Watters may be summed up as a ‘go getter’ with all the talents to back up that ambition. St. Mary Catholic School is in good hands.”

Watters attended Catholic schools for his elementary and secondary education. He has a Bachelor’s of Science degree in physical education and mathematics from Central Michigan University and earned his master’s degree in education administration from Sam Houston State University, in Texas. He is pursing a PhD. in education leadership from Keiser University, an online school.

Watters was chosen from a field of 20 applicants through a search process that began in February. Father Lam T. Le, pastor of St. Mary’s Catholic Church, was pleased with the board of directors’ deliberation and the Diocesan Superintendent of Schools’ guidance in selecting a new school principal.

“In every direction, he is a man of faith and deeply committed to Catholic education,” Le said.

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