Bishop Kearney’s new president a big believer in single sex education

Dr. Margaret Minson says it gives girls a chance to be leaders

June 30, 2014 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Dr. Margaret Minson says there are a lot of exciting things going on at Bishop Kearney High School

Dr. Margaret Minson, the new president of Bishop Kearney High School, said the all-girls Catholic school in Bensonhurst is part of an important educational movement in the US, one that has positive and lasting effects on students. “Single sex education in this day and age is invaluable,” she told the Brooklyn Eagle in a phone interview.

The lack of boys in Bishop Kearney’s classrooms empowers the female students to be more outspoken and to express their ideas more freely, according to Minson, who arrived at the school on May 5. “It gives the girls a chance to have leadership roles,” she said.

Some studies have shown that in a mixed sex classroom, teachers tend to focus their attention on boys. Single sex schools level the playing field, according to advocates.

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As president, Minson is the highest ranking person at Bishop Kearney. She is the immediate supervisor of Sister Thomasine Stagnitta, the school’s principal. Minson answers to the school’s board of trustees, who, she believes, hired her to bring out Bishop Kearney’s strengths.

“There are a lot of exciting things going on in this school,” she told the Eagle. “Sixty-nine students went to Europe for a trip. They spent the year researching the place they would be going to.”

In a sign of Bishop Kearney’s success, recent graduates have been accepted to some of the country’s most prestigious universities, including Harvard and Yale.

Bishop Kearney is using the Internet to promote education, Minson said. “We’re using Chromebook and Google Apps for Education. We’re offering online elective courses for our seniors. Young people do everything online these days. We’re finding different ways to educate them,” she said.

Part of Minson’s job as president is to raise funds for the school and to increase student enrollment. “We will be holding recruiting events over the summer,” she said.

The new president said she plans to reorganize the school’s alumni relations office. “Our relationship to our alumni is very important. Alumni can be our greatest asset when it comes to convincing girls to come to Bishop Kearney,” Minson said.

Other changes are coming. Under Minson, the school is establishing an internship program to give girls the opportunity to work in school offices

Minson’s plans for Bishop Kearney also extend in to the kitchen. “We’re planning an overhaul of the cafeteria,” she said.

Established 53 years ago by the Sisters of Saint Joseph, Bishop Kearney, located at 2202 60th St., is named in memory of Bishop Raymond Kearney, who served as an auxiliary bishop of Brooklyn from 1935 until his death in 1956. In recent years, the school has been dogged by rumors of its impending closure. Not only are the rumors untrue, but talk of the school’s demise is frustrating and annoying to deal with, according to people associated with the school.

“This is a strong school and I am delighted to be here,” Minson said.

Minson attended Catholic schools as a child and said she has always had a fondness for the Sisters of Saint Joseph. “My mother was a teacher. She taught with the Sisters of St. Joseph for 35 years,” she said. Minson attended Saint Frances de Sales School, Stella Maris High School and St. Joseph’s College. She earned her Master’s Degree in Education at Brooklyn College and her PhD from Fordham University. She currently lives in Belle Harbor and has four sons.

Prior to her arrival at Bishop Kearney, Minson served as executive director of Student Sponsor Partners, an organization that provides tuition scholarships and mentoring for students from families living below the poverty line, so that they can attend Catholic schools. Minson is the former vice president for Institutional Advancement at Marymount Manhattan College and also served in that same capacity at St. Joseph’s College.

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