Five new principals chosen to lead local Catholic schools


PROVIDENCE — Five new principals have been chosen to lead various Catholic schools throughout the Diocese of Providence for the 2020 school year. 

While this is certainly a unique time to get to know a new school community in a pandemic, Daniel Ferris, Catholic Schools superintendent for the diocese, feels that they are all incredibly qualified and up for the challenge.

“Three of our new principals have years of classroom experience,” explained Ferris. “Two of our new principals have years of administrative experience — following years of classroom experience. All have a willingness of heart and generosity of spirit tempered by inner strength and calm determination. COVID-19, and this is their moment. Their schools could not be in better hands.”

Susan Mansfield will serve as principal of Saint Teresa School, Pawtucket; Sister Josemaria Pence, O.P., will serve as principal of St. Pius V, Providence; Nicole Varone will serve as principal of St. Luke School, Barrington; Christine Desmarais will serve as principal of St. Peter School, Warwick; and Emily DaSilva will serve as principal of Sacred Heart School, East Providence. 

For more than 165 years, Catholic schools in the Diocese of Providence have partnered with parents throughout Rhode Island and the surrounding region. Supporting parents in their role as the primary educators of their children, schools collaborate to educate the whole child — mind, heart and spirit. 

Today’s schools follow a rigorous standards-based curriculum that addresses the academic, artistic, spiritual, social and physical development of the students. As a ministry of the local church, the schools provide daily opportunities for the students to encounter the love of God in Jesus Christ and receive formation in the fullness of the Catholic faith. 

To learn more about Rhode Island’s Catholic schools, visit