The Official Newspaper of the Diocese of Little Rock

Four schools welcome new leadership this school year

As the school year starts, multiple Catholic schools across the state see new leaders

Published: August 23, 2023   
Courtesy Immaculate Conception Fort Smith, Immaculate Conception North Little Rock, Catholic High and St. Michael School.
Four Catholic schools welcomed new leadership this year. Left to right: Dr. Michael Beauregard, Matthew Dempsey, Dr. Katie Kreimer Hall and Nicole Schafer.

FORT SMITH — Immaculate Conception

Dr. Katie Kreimer Hall

Hometown: Blue Springs, Mo.

Colleges and majors: Missouri State University, Springfield, Mo, bachelor’s degree in community recreation and master’s degree in special education; Southwest Baptist University, Bolivar, Mo, specialist’s degree in educational leadership and doctorate in educational leadership

Educational experience: Republic School District, Republic Mo, special education teacher and volleyball coach, four years; Morrison Elementary, Fort Smith, special education teacher, one year; Sutton Elementary School, Fort Smith, assistant principal, two years; Chaffin Junior High, Fort Smith, assistant principal, two years; Darby Middle School, Fort Smith, principal, six years; Fort Smith Public Schools, supervisor of curriculum and professional development, one year

What is your educational philosophy? When a school functions as a Professional Learning Community, educators embrace high levels of learning for all students as both the reason the organization exists and the fundamental responsibility of the adults who work within it. 

What do you believe are the benefits of Catholic education? Students learn that we serve a forgiving God who loves them unconditionally. Students learn that God does not expect us to be perfect. When students understand to give glory to God and trust him in all circumstances, they will have a fulfilling life. 

Who is your favorite saint? St. Kateri Tekakwitha, the first Native American to be recognized as a saint by the Church

What are your hobbies? Spending time with my family outside, swimming, going to the lake and traveling


LITTLE ROCK — Catholic High School

Matthew Dempsey

Hometown: Little Rock 

Colleges and majors: University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, bachelor’s degree in industrial management and computer information systems; University of Arkansas at Fayetteville School of Law, juris doctor; University of Arkansas at Monticello, master’s degree in teaching; Creighton University, graduate certificate in Catholic School Leadership

Educational experience: Catholic High School, Little Rock, teacher and coach, three years; Catholic HIgh School, teacher and assistant principal, 12 years 

What is your educational philosophy? My education philosophy is to teach as Jesus did. Every single student, teacher and parent has value and can grow, and the school is uniquely qualified to emphasize both. Academic success comes about with an environment of hard work, high expectations, treating the student body as a group but acknowledging the differences among individuals. 

What do you believe are the benefits of Catholic education? Catholic education stands apart because it leverages the rigor of a beautiful and highly structured faith system to elevate the beauty and structure of the sacred endeavor of educating our children. 

What is your favorite Scripture? Blessing of the children from Matthew 19:13-14, particularly Jesus’ words “Let the children come to me, and do not prevent them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” 

What are your hobbies? mountain biking, road biking, hiking, camping and canoeing


NORTH LITTLE ROCK — Immaculate Conception

Nicole Schafer

Hometown: North Little Rock

Colleges and majors: University of Arkansas, bachelor’s degree in early childhood education, elementary education and middle school social studies; University of Arkansas at Little Rock, Literacy Coach Graduate Certificate

Educational experience: Glenview Elementary, North Little Rock, second-grade teacher, one year; Seventh Street Elementary, North Little Rock, second-grade teacher, four years; Sequoyah Elementary, Tulsa, Okla., first grade teacher, 1.5 years; Seventh Street, North Little Rock, first grade and K-5 literacy voach, eight years; Immaculate Conception School, North Little Rock, assistant principal, nine years; Diocese of Little Rock

What is your educational philosophy? I believe all children can learn. When inspired by faith in Christ, we can support, challenge and educate our students as they grow as individuals and as faith-filled members of family, Church and world.

What do you believe are the benefits of Catholic education? Catholic education provides children with quality academic instruction and a foundation of faith. We can give students a solid foundation in academic subjects, preparing them well for college and careers, while giving them a sound spiritual foundation, preparing them for life. 

What is your favorite Scripture? 1 Corinthians 13:4–8. It reminds us of the love that God has for us and also of the love we are to display to those around us.

What are your hobbies? reading, pickleball, exercising and spending time with my family


WEST MEMPHIS — St. Michael

Dr. Michael Beauregard

Hometown: West Memphis

Colleges and majors: Christian Brothers University, Memphis, bachelor’s degree in accounting and master’s degree in education; University of Memphis, doctorate in educational administration and leadership 

Educational experience: Memphis Catholic High School, history teacher, two years; Immaculate Conception High School, Memphis, history and theology teacher, one year; St. Michael School, West Memphis, sixth-grade teacher and principal, 11 years; and Sacred Heart High School, Jackson, Tenn., principal, one year

What is your educational philosophy? I believe that in assisting parents in their role in education, the school must be committed to helping students develop all of their qualities and God-given talents.    

What do you believe are the benefits of Catholic education? Catholic schools are unique because they are communities where students encounter Christ and his transforming love and truth. 

Who is your favorite saint? St. John Baptiste de La Salle, founder of the Christian Brothers and patron saint of teachers

What are your hobbies? Spending time with my family, traveling and reading


Assistant principals

Five schools also hired new assistant principals. They are Paige Coppola, St. Joseph, Fayetteville; Steve Aday, Catholic High School, Little Rock; Sarah Wendel, Christ the King, Little Rock; Sonni Runnells, Immaculate Conception, North Little Rock; and Danielle Mooney, St. Vincent de Paul, Rogers. Denise Troutman and Melody Sharp will share responsibilities as co-principals at North Little Rock Catholic Academy.


More stories will appear in our 2023 Back to School Section as they are posted online. Subscribe to Arkansas Catholic’s digital and print publications to read more content like this.

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