For the last twelve years, Dr. Pennell has been principal of Prince of Peace Catholic School, a K4 to 8th grade parochial school in Taylors, South Carolina where he helped the pastor and parish community double school enrollment and lead the school to achieve both its first accreditation under the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) and the 2014 United States Department of Education National Blue Ribbon Award for exemplary and high performing schools.
Before that, Dr. Pennell served four years as Assistant Headmaster and Head of Middle School at St. Joseph’s Catholic School in Greenville, SC during which time (2004) the school became one of the Cardinal Newman Society’s Top 50 Catholic High School Honor Roll schools – an award also earned, as you know, by THS!
Dr. Pennell has also shared his talents for school governance with several other Catholic organizations. In his current diocese of Charleston, SC he served as a member of the Diocese of Charleston’s Governance and Leadership Committee during the diocesan accreditation process, and continued his role as a member of the Diocesan Internal Review team that oversees diocesan-wide maintenance of SACS accreditation standards for all Catholic schools throughout South Carolina. He continued to serve as a member of the Academics Standards Committee which took an active role in preparing diocesan schools and the Catholic Schools Office for the 2017 re-accreditation process.
Dr. Pennell has been invited to be a featured presenter at two conferences this summer. He is working with the superintendent of schools of the Marquette Diocese in Michigan with teachers and school leaders on Catholic Identity and enhancement of the Catholic school mission as well as on student acquisition of early childhood and elementary reading and math skills. He has also joined with the Pittsburgh diocese’s Director of Evangelization and the President of Pastoral Leadership to speak to school leaders on topics of governance and spiritual leadership in the Catholic school.
Dr. Pennell says the credit for the successes in his work in Catholic schools goes to the teachers and mentors he himself had in the Catholic schools he has attended since Kindergarten. He was a student at St. Raphael’s Catholic School and Cathedral High School in his native Canada as a youth, and he later earned a Bachelor’s Degree from the Thomas More College of Liberal Arts in New Hampshire. He continued his studies earning both a Master of Arts and Ph.D. from the Braniff Graduate School of Liberal Arts at the University of Dallas. He earned a certificate in Catholic Schools Administration in the University of Dallas’ Catholic School Leadership Program.
Academic Coordinator Toni Seeton graduated from Angelo State University with a B.A. in English before continuing to earn her Masters in English from the University of Dallas and Masters in Counseling from Dallas Baptist University. With 25 years of pedagogy under her belt, Ms. Seeton is not only a trained AP English teacher, but she holds a Lifetime Texas Teaching certificate and a Licensed Professional Counselor certificate as well. When not in the classroom with her high school students or providing one-on-one academic and professional mentoring on campus, this Heart of the Highlands Award recipient can be found cheering on our Lady Blazers volleyball team.
An alumna of the University of Houston, Mrs. Oberfelder has shared her expertise in curriculum implementation, management, and professional development and mentoring as The Highland’s Lower School Academic Dean for the past 21 years. Affiliated with both the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD) and the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), Mrs. Oberfelder brings a distinct and contagious enthusiasm for education. Before joining our THS family, she managed multiple locations and personnel as a small business owner.