Welcome Back to a New School Year
and a Special Message
"I ask you to do everything in your power to expand the work of Holy Cross, to spread it by every means that heaven puts within your reach"(Blessed Basil Moreau, Letters)
August 19, 2019
Dear Bishop McNamara family and friends,
Welcome back to a new school year! As we begin our School's 56th year, my 31st in Catholic education and 23rd year at Bishop McNamara, I couldn't be prouder and more excited by where we've been and the bright future that lies ahead. A new school year brings with it so much promise, optimism, excitement, and hope.
Hope is such a powerful word. Father Basil Moreau, C.S.C., Founder of the Congregation of Holy Cross and the educational mission that guides all we do at Bishop McNamara believed that no education in the faith is complete without understanding the power of hope, including hope in the Cross. Hence, the motto of the Congregation of Holy Cross, "Ave Crux Spes Unica," the Cross is our only Hope. Fr. Moreau challenges all of us to be "men and women with hope to bring." Likewise, we at Bishop McNamara embrace this hope and challenge our students and faculty to strive for the vision to be "empowered leaders, inspired by the Gospel, transforming the world." With this in mind, the motto for the 2019-2020 school year is Bringing Hope.
It is in this spirit of hope and anticipation that I share with you that this will be my last year at Bishop McNamara High School.
I am humbled and honored to have received an invitation from the Provincial Leadership of the Moreau and Midwest Provinces of Holy Cross, the Board of Governors from the Holy Cross Institute, and Dr. George Martin, President of St. Edward's University, to serve as the first lay Executive Director of the Holy Cross Institute at St. Edward's University.
In a year in which the Brothers of Holy Cross are celebrating their 200th anniversary from their original founding as the Brothers of St. Joseph, and Holy Cross education enters its 182nd year, it is humbling that the Congregation of Holy Cross has turned to a layperson to lead and oversee their educational ministries throughout the U.S. and abroad.
With twenty Holy Cross primary and secondary schools in the United States including my beloved Bishop McNamara, nine colleges and universities in the U.S.—including such schools as the University of Notre Dame, Holy Cross College, St. Edward's University, the University of Portland, King's College, and Stonehill College—and schools and ministries in countries as diverse as Brazil, Chile, Uganda, Ghana, India, and Bangladesh, the responsibility is both exciting and formidable, yet it is one I feel called to fulfill and achieve.
In my new role, I will continue to serve Bishop McNamara on an even greater scale. I look forward to sharing the journey with all of you as the hopes and dreams for our students and our beloved School continue to take shape.
As you know, I am a proud product of Holy Cross education. During my years as a student at Bishop McNamara, I discerned religious life as a Holy Cross Priest or Brother. It was the personal witness of the Brothers, Priests, and lay teachers at Bishop McNamara, coupled with the mission and charism of Holy Cross, that called me to my vocation as a Holy Cross educator.
Upon returning to Bishop McNamara in 1997 as Principal, then becoming President in 2010, I strove each day to lead our School by following the examples of those who came before me--to walk by faith, lead with my heart, be guided by love, and work with the "zeal to make God known, loved and served" (Moreau). Over my past twenty-two years at Bishop McNamara, I have often commented that I have the best job in the world. Who could ask for more than to respond to God's calling? Here I am Lord.
Bishop McNamara High School is remarkable because of the PEOPLE, the MISSION, and GOD'S GRACE. I have such hope and optimism for the future because of these people. The School is on very solid footing under tremendous leadership of our Board of Directors, the Board of Members of the Congregation of Holy Cross, our School Administration and an outstanding faculty and staff. With the future La Reine Science and Innovation Center on schedule to start construction later this academic school year, we have such a bright and impactful future ahead of us.
Over the past twenty-two years, our school has nearly doubled in size and has established itself as a top Catholic and private school nationally. The diversity of people that make up our community—our family—is our greatest strength.
I have been blessed to work with the incredible educators of Bishop McNamara. These committed lay leaders have embraced the School's mission and charism; their loyalty and friendship have been great gifts. I am especially grateful to my predecessor, Mrs. Heather Gossart, for calling me home to Bishop McNamara, and I am grateful she remains an inspirational leader, mentor, and dear friend.
These twenty-two years have also been defining for me personally. Twenty-two years ago, my children were just six, four, and two years old. This year, as my wife and I celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary, we also welcomed three grandchildren to the world. My children, who are now the parents of the next generation, have been informed, formed and transformed by their Holy Cross education at Bishop McNamara. Thank you for your impact on them and their future.
The Bishop McNamara community has been there for me through my battle with pancreatic insulinoma in 2013 and the death of my mother in 2017; and it was your prayers last year that brought our granddaughter to a viable and healthy future following the numerous open-heart surgeries she went through in the days, weeks, and months following her birth. I am forever grateful.
As I respond to God's call to lead Holy Cross education on a broader level, it is with mixed emotions. I love Bishop McNamara and I love each of you. I am grateful for the sacrifices that my family has made over the years, as well as the sacrifices that are upcoming, not the least of which is a move to Austin, Texas, where the Holy Cross Institute is headquartered.
I am also extraordinarily grateful for the support that so many people have given me and Bishop McNamara over the years. What I am most grateful for is your love, prayers and the sacred trust you have given me. I have never taken this lightly; and serving you has been one of the greatest privileges of my life.
As I go into my final year as Bishop McNamara's President, with God's grace, I pledge to you that you will receive my very best. I owe so much to this amazing community and want to assure that there is a smooth transition and that we reach all of our goals, not the least of which is the fulfillment of our Capital Campaign and the construction of the La Reine Science and Innovation Center.
I am deeply appreciative of the wonderful community of students, parents, alumni, faculty, and staff that make Bishop McNamara so special. Rooted in strong, dedicated school leadership, a phenomenal, impactful staff and faculty, and with the exciting establishment of the new La Reine Science and Innovation Center on the horizon, Bishop McNamara is growing and thriving while faithfully guided by the mission and charism of Holy Cross.
Let us continue to be men and women with hope to bring.
May God bless all of you this school year and may God forever bless Bishop McNamara High School.
Ave Crux Spes Unica!
August 19, 2019
Dear Bishop McNamara Family,
Dr. Marco Clark, Bishop McNamara's President/CEO and administrative leader for the past 22 years, has advised the Board of Directors and Board of Members of the Congregation of Holy Cross, Moreau Province, that the 2019-2020 school year will be his last as Head of School.
As the current chairman of the board, Bishop McNamara alum, and long-time enthusiast of Dr. Clark, it is difficult to encapsulate his innumerable contributions during his more than two decades at the school. As the longest chief administrator in the school's 55 year history, Dr. Clark has built on our firm foundation while championing educational advancements to ensure Bishop McNamara continues to have a competitive academic program, world-class facilities, financial stability, and a creative vision for the future.
Under his leadership, Bishop McNamara has grown from an enrollment of 525 students in 1997 to over 800 students today. In collaboration with an extraordinarily talented faculty and staff, the School has become not only one of the finest Catholic and private schools in the Washington Metropolitan area, but has reached a level of national recognition and prominence.
During these past 22 years, with Dr. Clark and formerly Mrs. Gossart at the helm, we have carefully planned and invested more than $20 million to expand, update and renovate our facilities. However, the growth of the school can be measured more than in size and facilities. Dr. Clark was also instrumental in expanding the School's curriculum, which today offers more than 190 courses each day. Ever committed to teaching all of God's children, Dr. Clark was also instrumental in developing the Project PRIDE Program, he founded the St. Joseph Program for students with special learning needs, founded the St. Andre Program, an inclusive education program for students possessing intellectual and developmental disabilities, created the School's Cross and Anchor Endowment to support tuition assistance for families, and was inspired to create a program in honor of the late Mr. Richard Middleton to provide opportunities for low and moderate income students to receive a world-class education at Bishop McNamara. His legacy also includes foraging numerous community and business partnerships that today contribute to the growing opportunities available to students, faculty and staff at McNamara.
In 2014, Dr. Clark also embarked on the School's most ambitious initiative to date, the Faith. Family. Future! 50th Anniversary Capital Campaign. Inspired by the 2012 Campus Master Plan commissioned by the Board of Directors, this $15 million campaign was designed to support Phase One of the Master Plan. Phase One included the addition of the Mona Student Center, campus enhancements and upgrades, growing the Cross and Anchor Endowment for scholarship support, and the future construction of the La Reine Science and Innovation Center, which is on schedule for ground breaking before the end of the year. Dr. Clark has also helped to grow the Bishop McNamara Annual Fund, which primarily supports student scholarship and financial aid as well as academic, athletic, extracurricular and campus ministry programs from approximately $300,000 per year to over $1 million annually.
Dr. Clark's commitment to innovation has given rise to dynamic leadership and programs that are now an integral part of school life. In collaboration with many strong and committed Catholic educators who have worked alongside Dr. Clark these past 22 years, our School today is thriving, forward-looking, and responsive to the expectations of current academic thinking, enriched by the traditions and rich legacy that make Bishop McNamara unique.
Perhaps Dr. Clark's greatest gift to Bishop McNamara is his personal witness to the four pillars of Holy Cross--Being Family, Building Respect, Educating Hearts and Minds, and Bringing Hope. What an honor it is for him to be selected as the first lay-leader of Holy Cross educational ministries as the Executive Director of the Holy Cross Institute. This is a true testimony to his commitment to our Holy Cross mission and charism, his loyalty to the Brothers of Holy Cross, and the success that Bishop McNamara High School has experienced.
Countless faculty, staff, parents and students attest that Dr. Clark's greatest legacy is the joy he approaches each day with and the love and dignity he treats everyone he crosses paths with. His positive energy, optimism, and vision helped transform Bishop McNamara, and in so doing, has contributed to making the community and the world a better place. His selfless dedication to his work has inspired us all as we work together to educate men and women of faith, vision, and purpose...empowering leaders, inspired by the Gospel, who transform the world.
I will work closely with the school's Board of Directors to immediately begin the process of identifying Dr. Clark's successor. Following the careful and strategic guidance of the School's Succession Policy, we will be engaging the community in this process. Dr. Clark's announcement at this time of year provides an ideal timeline to conduct an intentional, national search for the best leader possible for Bishop McNamara High School. More information is forthcoming.
We look forward to honoring and celebrating Dr. Clark's faithful work in the coming year. Please help us to congratulate him and thank him for his many contributions. He has truly made a difference!
Robert Summers '86
Chairman, Bishop McNamara High School Board of Directors
About Dr. Clark
Dr. Clark has served in Catholic education in the Archdiocese of Washington since 1989. A 1985 graduate of Bishop McNamara High School, he matriculated to the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MA where he studied Psychology and English. He did his Master's degree in Education in Guidance and Counseling at Bowie State University. Dr. Clark graduated in May of 2015 with an Educational Doctorate in Interdisciplinary Leadership from Creighton University and was inducted into the prestigious Alpha Sigma Nu Jesuit Honor Society. Alpha Sigma Nu honors students of Jesuit colleges and universities who distinguish themselves in scholarship, loyalty to the ideals of Jesuit education, and service to others. His doctoral dissertation focused on leadership development and succession planning.
Following graduation from Holy Cross he began his career in Catholic education working at DeMatha Catholic High School where he served as a teacher, guidance counselor, football, baseball and basketball coach, Admissions Director, Director of Guidance, and Summer School Principal. In 1997 Dr. Clark returned to his high school alma mater where he served as the school's Principal for 13 years and in 2010 was appointed as the President/CEO.
Throughout his career in education Dr. Clark has held a variety of leadership roles in the Archdiocese of Washington serving as a member of the Board of Education, President of the High School Principal's Association, President of the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference, a Trustee at St. Anselm Abbey School, member of the Board of Directors at St. Edmond's Academy in Wilmington Delaware, member of the Board of Directors for the Consortium of Catholic Academies in the Archdiocese of Washington and serves as the Chair of the Academic Committee, and a member of the Board of Directors for the Forestville Pregnancy Center. In 2012 Dr. Clark was awarded the Secondary Schools' Administrator of the Year Award from the National Catholic Education Association for his long-standing leadership and contribution to Catholic education.
Education is the art of bringing young people to completeness; for the Christian, this means education is helping a young person to be more like Christ.Blessed Father Basil Moreau, Christian Education, 1856
Dr. Clark is married to Mrs. Peggy Clark, a middle school math teacher at St. Ambrose Catholic School in Cheverly, MD. Their three children—Kevin, Casey, and Meghan—all graduated from Bishop McNamara High School marking three generations to attend either McNamara or La Reine High Schools.
One of the greatest joys Dr. Clark has is witnessing the growth and personal formation of our Bishop McNamara students as they grow to become leaders and people of influence who want to bring about positive change in the world. Bishop McNamara's proud legacy challenges students “To Think with Christ." As an authentically Holy Cross school committed to the principles of the founder of the Congregation of Holy Cross, Blessed Father Basil Moreau, the Bishop McNamara High School faculty and staff prepare our students through academic, athletic, artistic, social, and spiritual learning experiences designed to inform, form and transform them as they become responsible citizens of our global community.
Dr Clark believes that as Catholic educators we are called to recommit ourselves daily to educating and forming our students to fulfill their God-given potential as we guide, lead, and encourage them to higher levels of spiritual, social and academic development. As Catholic educators, we assist others to view all reality through the eyes of faith and to proclaim the Gospel through their words and witness.
It is no longer a matter of learning to become a good Christian, but of becoming an apostolic person.Blessed Basil Moreau, Rules
As a Holy Cross school, Bishop McNamara High School offers educational programs to a diverse group of students, fostering the gifts of those with whom and for whom we work. We teach the Catholic faith; we encourage the pursuit of academic excellence; we nurture a commitment to integral growth by focusing on Christian values and the intellectual, creative, social and physical development of those we serve. We spur those who we serve to challenge prejudice, as well as unjust networks of power and privilege. As a Holy Cross school we exist to promote the legacy and vision of Father Moreau by developing leaders among the People of God for the good of the Church and society.
Foremost, Dr. Clark remains steadfast that a Bishop McNamara education facilitates the formation of qualities such as integrity, leadership, justice, love, compassion, hope and respect for all people. This is a philosophy that transforms lives; this is a mission we live at Bishop McNamara and give witness to daily. Simply said, Bishop McNamara exists so that students become people of values as well as scholars. By cultivating the hearts and minds, our students become responsible citizens and positive forces for good.
"Our work is not a human work, but God's very own."
Blessed Basil Moreau, Letters