New principal, Sloan, says faith is lived every day

GUILDERLAND – New St. Madeleine Sophie Principal Kelly Sloan says moving into the leadership role is like coming full circle for her.

Sloan attended the school herself – now in its 50th year – from kindergarten through the eighth grade, and her three children went to St. Madeleine Sophie, too, which now goes up just to fifth grade. Her youngest daughter graduated from the fifth grade in the spring.

When her youngest child started kindergarten, Sloan began working at the school, teaching the third grade.

She had a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from The College of Saint Rose, and jumped at the chance to teach at a school that she says is “where her heart lies.”

St. Madeleine Sophie is a faith-based school, she said, offering daily religion class and prayers; the children and staff go to Mass at least once monthly.

“Our faith is lived every day in our school,” said Sloan.

The school also follows the New York State Common Core Standards, and has special classes, such as Spanish language, computer, physical education, music, art, and library. It also prides itself on small class sizes; Sloan said the average class has 16 students.

While teaching the third grade, Sloan got her master’s degree in curriculum development and instructional technology from the University at Albany, and finished her certificate of advanced study at The College of Saint Rose.

When St. Madeleine Sophie’s principal of 20 years, Teresa Kovarovic, decided to retire, Sloan applied for the position.

“It’s very humbling to think that I was just the third-grade teacher, and the selection committee thought enough to actually give me this appointment,” she said.

Sloan said, as Catholic schools in general are facing an exodus of students, one of her biggest goals as the new principal is to increase enrollment, and she already has a committee in place to move her enrollment plan forward.

“I’m lucky, because I do know the school, and already have such a sense of responsibility in maintaining the great reputation we have,” said Sloan.

She said she felt very blessed to be working with the faculty and staff at St. Madeleine Sophie.

“I think it’s going to be a wonderful, happy place to be assisting children in their development,” said Sloan.

This year has been a year of transition for Sloan. Her father, she said, died shortly after she was appointed as the new principal.

“It was his decision to send me to the school when I was a child, so being chosen as the new principal was kind of like a full-circle moment,” she said.

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