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Sacred Heart School gets new principal

Patrick Gross, a 24-year educator with experience in private and public schools around the globe, has been named the new principal of Sacred Heart Catholic School.

Gross, who started his new position Aug. 1, replaced Shirley Kennedy, who was principal of the school for the last six years and has since moved on to other opportunities, according to Father Ken Sampson, pastor of Sacred Heart Church and a member of the search committee for the new principal.

Sacred Heart School is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year and serves about 250 kindergarten- through eighth-grade students.

Gross earned his bachelor’s degree in music from the University of the Pacific in Stockton, Calif., and his master’s degree in educational policy from Portland State University.

For about 14 years, he taught music at schools in Oregon, California, Hong Kong and Saudi Arabia and, for the last decade, served as principal of schools in Reedsport, Morocco and, most recently, with the U.S. Department of Defense in Germany.

Gross is currently pursuing a doctorate in leadership from Creighton University in Omaha, Neb., and plans to graduate sometime next year.

Sampson and the rest of the search committee began looking for a principal in January and, after interviewing two finalists, hired Gross in June.

“(Gross) decided to put down roots now that the travel bug has been satisfied,” said Sampson, adding that he was impressed with Gross’ “collaborative spirit” and “strong communication skills.”

“Everybody who has met him has been impressed,” Sampson said. “For me, I’m excited to see a principal of his caliber at the K-8 grade levels and to see how he uses technology, his unique life experiences and his collaborative approach in the professional setting and in bringing out the best in kids. We think he’ll bring us to the next level.”

Gross said he wanted to move to Oregon to be closer to family. Both his and his wife's parents live in Grants Pass.

Gross said he was impressed with the strong academics, Catholic community and family values represented at Sacred Heart School.

“And now I’m just looking to build on that and work toward further excellence,” he said.

Reach education reporter Teresa Thomas at 541-776-4497 or tthomas@mailtribune.com. Follow her at www.twitter.com/teresathomas_mt.