For Immediate Release: May 16, 2023
(RICHMOND) – Bishop Barry C. Knestout appointed Dr. Jennifer Bigelow as interim superintendent of schools for the Catholic Diocese of Richmond. She will lead diocesan schools during the 2023-2024 school year following the departure of Superintendent Kelly Lazzara to become president of Oakland Catholic High School in the Diocese of Pittsburgh. The appointment is effective July 1, 2023.
“I am thrilled to continue to work in Catholic education,” said Dr. Bigelow, who returns to the Diocese of Richmond after serving as associate superintendent of curriculum and instruction from 2019-2022. “It’s an opportunity to rejoin a great staff that does amazing work to support our schools.”
Dr. Bigelow began her career as an educator at an all-girls Catholic school in Florida. She earned her doctoral degree from North Carolina State University with an emphasis on Catholic school leadership. She received her master’s in educational leadership from the University of South Florida and has presented nationally on topics of leadership and resiliency. Previously, she held positions in school administration in Tampa, FL, and Raleigh, NC. For four years, she served as superintendent of schools in the Diocese of Arlington.
“What I love about working in Catholic education is the opportunity to help people to grow in their faith and be able to support academic excellence. As a former principal, I always said Catholic school is academics but through the lens of our faith.”
Lazzara returns to her home state of Pennsylvania after serving the diocese for eight years as a principal, associate superintendent and in her current position.
“These past four years as superintendent and the prior two years as associate superintendent of operations, have been filled with great joy, despite some very large challenges,” said Lazzara. “Throughout these past years it has been an honor to serve you all. I am extremely proud of the work our schools have accomplished, especially these last few years.”
Appointed superintendent in 2019, Lazzara guided schools through a global pandemic, worked to increase enrollment, coordinated the launch of the Saint Vincent de Paul Virtual Academy (SVVA), and worked to shore up financial sustainability for Catholic schools.
“I will always reflect fondly on my 8 years of service to the Diocese of Richmond. I will keep you and the diocese in my prayers, and I ask for your prayers as I enter this next chapter of my life.”
The diocese begins a national search for a new superintendent in the summer.
The Office of Catholic Schools in the Catholic Diocese of Richmond serves more than 9,000 students attending 30 schools.