Dear St. Isidore School Community,

It is with great excitement that I write this letter of introduction to you as the new Principal of St. Isidore School, effective July 1st! As an educator and administrator over the past 25 years, it has been my ministry to serve in the Catholic school community. I place tremendous effort in preserving our Catholic identity, instilling the mission of our faith, and providing a program of academic excellence integrated with current and innovative practices. It is both an incredible honor and a blessing to serve as an instructional and spiritual leader for St. Isidore School.

My background in Catholic education begins with my own childhood and extends to earning a bachelor’s degree in Marketing from the University of San Francisco. I returned back to the hilltop for the teaching credential and masters programs, which ultimately led to pursuing an administrative credential. Prior to moving to Danville, I worked for the Archdiocese of San Francisco as a classroom teacher in grades 3-8, vice-principal, and principal of Our Lady of Angels School in Burlingame. My husband and I have resided in the St. Isidore community since 2005. We have two amazing daughters that are nineteen months apart and will both be entering 6th grade: one in a district special day class and the other here at St. Isidore.  

I was first connected to St. Isidore School 14 years ago when I was hired as a 4th-grade long-term substitute teacher for Maria Ward as she was expecting her first son. I would have never thought back then, the opportunity to teach her son and follow in her leadership position would have come to fruition. Since that time, I have been a member of the school community in some capacity, as a teacher and administrator. It is because of that longevity, I accept and embrace the traditions that are immersed in our school community. 

Most recently, I recognized the shift in the educational landscape; I never envisioned beginning my principalship at St. Isidore School in the midst of a pandemic. While truly a monumental task, I am confident in my ability to navigate the complexities of these current challenging times and meet the demands for accountability in communication, curriculum development and instruction, teacher preparedness, and the health and safety of the school community. 

I am aware of the anticipation that accompanies new leadership; it is expected and understandable. It is during this time it is even more vital to communicate effectively and lead with integrity and transparency. I can assure you that I share in the community’s commitment to caring for your children and leading in their best interests. 

I intend to work in partnership with Fr. Moran, the school board, finance committee, and parent groups to develop a strategic plan for St. Isidore School. I am confident in my leadership ability, our vice principal, and the collective efforts of our faculty, and staff, to keep our Catholic identity at the forefront and ensure the direction we are moving is in alignment to fulfill and advance the mission.

Lastly, I know you are eager to learn about the reopening plans for the upcoming school year. This past month has allowed me to collaborate with
Mr. Keane and members of our community to begin the development of a comprehensive action plan for our return to school in August. To help us better understand and prepare for your family, you will be receiving an email tomorrow, July 3rd with an electronic survey. It is essential that we receive a response from each school family. 

While this continues to be an unprecedented time in all of our lives, please know the administration, faculty, and staff are committed to the educational excellence and spiritual development of our students. I am truly humbled by this new responsibility and enthusiastic to contribute in a positive manner to
St. Isidore School. 

In partnership and prayer,

Carol Bender