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Leadership

The Administrative Board is made up of the President, Principal, Vice Presidents, Assistant Principals and Athletic Director. Various directors of departments report to the Board on a regular basis along with an elected representative who brings issues of concern from members of the faculty and staff. The Board meets weekly and is responsible for developing and approving general school policies. It is charged with the responsibility to provide vision and direction to the mission of SMCHS.

ADMIN BOARD

PRESIDENT
Mr. J. Andrew Sulick '91

Andy Sulick is an Orange County native. His father is a retired Marine officer and his mother was a Catholic school elementary teacher in South Orange County. Andy holds a master’s degree in Catholic educational administration from Loyola Marymount University, a bachelor’s degree in education/history from the University of Redlands, and is a member of Santa Margarita Catholic High School’s Charter Class of 1991.

Andy began his teaching career at his alma mater in 1996 where he not only taught history, but coached football and golf. In 2001, he left Santa Margarita for the corporate world and gained valuable business experience over the next two years while working at FedEx. In 2003, Andy began his post as founding director of admissions at JSerra Catholic High School in San Juan Capistrano. His successes at JSerra ultimately propelled him into the role of assistant headmaster in 2012.

In the summer of 2014, Andy was appointed president of Santa Margarita Catholic High School returning to the “Eagles’ Nest.” His proven record of success in enrollment marketing, development, business, administration, and deep ties to the alumni community serve him well in his role as president. Andy is proud of establishing a new program at the school, Eagles Edge, which provides students with “real-world” growth and networking opportunities. As president, Andy maintains ties to his original passion of teaching by guest speaking in the community at area high schools, colleges and nonprofit organizations.

EDUCATION:
Loyola Marymount University
M.A. Catholic Education

University of Redlands
B.A. Education/History

PRINCIPAL
Mrs. Cheri Wood

Cheri Wood joins the school's leadership team as principal of SMCHS with administrative responsibilities focused on academics, faculty, student life and spiritual development through the school’s charism of Caritas Christi, the love of Christ. Wood has over 30 years of educational experience, most recently at Cornelia Connelly School in Anaheim where she served as head of school. Previously, she has held principal positions in both the Diocese of Orange and the Diocese of Arlington in Virginia. Wood’s background in education is rooted in Catholicism, curriculum development, collaborative leadership and cultivating a transformative school environment. Wood earned a Post-Master’s Certificate in School Administration from Notre Dame of Maryland University in Baltimore and a Master of Arts in Psychology from Occidental College, Los Angeles. She and her husband, Ron, have two grown children and look forward to becoming active parishioners at San Francisco Solano Catholic Church.

EDUCATION:
Notre Dame of Maryland University, Baltimore
Post-Master's Certificate in School of Administration

Occidental College, Los Angeles
M.A. Psychology

ASSISTANT PRINCIPAL - Athletics
Mr. Jim Hartigan

Jim Hartigan has been a lifelong Eagle fan, growing up in Philadelphia and then becoming one of Santa Margarita Catholic High School’s founding employees. Over the span of his 35-year career working with high school athletes, Jim’s philosophy has been to prepare students for LIFE (Leadership, Intellect, Faith, Excellence). His passion is contagious and he uses his talents to build a cohesive team and a culture of grit, trust, perseverance and love.

Collectively, Jim has served 10 years as an Athletic Director, first at JSerra Catholic High School and now as Assistant Principal of Athletics at SM. Jim rejoined the Eagle family in 2017 and as is eager to build on the rich athletic legacy that was led by Richard Schaaf, who retired in 2018.

Jim has 30 years of Division I head football coaching experience, leading both public and private schools to multiple CIF championships. He began his career at Mater Dei before joining Santa Margarita Catholic High School in 1986 as the school’s first Head Wrestling and Football Coach. As an inaugural leader, he was responsible for full scale strategic design and execution of the football program from concept to perennial, National powerhouse, including a 14-0 championship season with Heisman Trophy Winner, Carson Palmer.

Coach Hartigan was honored as Orange County’s 2016 Coach of the Year and received recognition as California State Athletic Program of the Year while at Clovis West High School. Jim has three decades of authentic, servant leadership experience branding the school and athletic programs, including student-athlete and coach development, world-class strength, conditioning, nutrition and youth programs.

Jim holds a master’s degree in Education from Azusa Pacific University and a bachelor’s degree in Physical Education from CSU-Fullerton. He has been a featured speaker at regional conventions, specializing in year-round organizational design, effective fundraising, developing young men/women and building championship teams. He has the proven ability to inspire, grow and motivate athletes with a commitment to academic excellence and integrity.

EDUCATION:
Cal State Fullerton
Bachelor's Degree: Physical Education
Azusa Pacific University
Masters in Education

ASSISTANT PRINCIPAL- Curriculum & Instruction
Mr. John Hayek


Mr. John Hayek joined SMCHS in 2017 overseeing faculty and instruction. John is a graduate of De La Salle High School in Northern California and St. Mary's College in Moraga, where he received a bachelor's degree in English while also playing on the men's soccer team. He earned his master's degree in education and his administrative credential at National University. John began his teaching career at De La Salle prior to relocating to Southern California. He then taught and coached at Fallbrook High School, eventually becoming their athletic director and later an assistant principal. His career also includes serving as an assistant principal of San Marcos High (San Diego) where he helped facilitate the construction of a new $150 million campus. Prior to joining the Eagle family, John served as the Fallbrook Union High School District alternative education principal. John has a wealth of knowledge in areas as varied as mentoring teachers, strategic planning, standards-based learning, student-teacher collaboration, student government, facilities and much more.

EDUCATION:
St. Mary's College

B.A. - English
Teaching Credential

National University
M.A. Education
Administrative Credential


ASSISTANT PRINCIPAL - Student Services
Mr. Tom Smith

Tom Smith began working at SMCHS as the band director in 1987. From 1993 to 2002, he was the activities director. Since then, Tom has been the assistant principal for student services. His responsibilities include supervision of various departments on campus including Activities, Attendance & Discipline, Audio/Visual, Information Technology and the Nursing Office.

EDUCATION:
California State University, Long Beach
B.A. - Instrumental Music Education
M.A. - Educational Administration


VICE PRESIDENT - Student Activities and Campus Security
Mr. Sammer Darwazeh

Sammer joined SMCHS in 2011 as the Director of Activities and brings over 15 years of leadership development and event production experience. Sammer is passionate about helping students reach their full potential, preparing them for college and beyond…while making high school a safe, fun and memorable experience. He currently oversees the Associated Student Body (ASB), student clubs and non-CIF programs, including the 2-time National Champion Ice Hockey team, Nationally-Ranked Songleading team and 4-time OCIEL Overall High Point Champion Equestrian team. In addition, he is responsible for many activities, including SOARientation, rallies, dances, Eagle Pack, Club Rush, lunch time events, awareness and wellness campaigns, Red Ribbon Week, Every 15 Minutes, Senior Cruise, Grad Night and Graduation.

Sammer was recently appointed head of Campus Security operations and is a school liaison to first responders. Sammer participates in various conferences and training opportunities and brings his experience back to the Nest to help provide a safe and secure Catholic education environment for students, employees and visitors.

EDUCATION:

BA, Political Science, UC Irvine
MA, Sport Management, University of San Francisco

VICE PRESIDENT - Chief Financial Officer
Mrs. Michelle Balash Lencioni

Michelle Balash Lencioni began her career with Ernst & Young where she earned her CPA license and became an Audit Manager. In her current role at SMCHS, Michelle oversees the Business Office, Facilities and is the senior executive responsible for managing the financial actions and reporting of SMCHS.


EDUCATION:
Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo
B.S. - Business Administration/Accounting

VICE PRESIDENT
Mr. Sergio Muniz

Sergio began his career in education at his alma mater, Santa Margarita Catholic High School, in 1996 where he taught Economics, Government, Cultural Geography and coached football. In 2002, he left Santa Margarita to teach and coach at Clovis West High School in Fresno, California before returning to Southern California in 2007. For ten years Sergio worked in the athletic department and coached football at JSerra Catholic High School.

In the winter of 2017, Sergio returned to Santa Margarita Catholic High School and continued his passion of working in Catholic education. Currently, Sergio has responsibilities in a multitude of areas including athletics, marketing, finance and the school’s five-year strategic plan.

EDUCATION:

University of Southern California
B.S. – Business Administration
Azusa Pacific University
M.S. – Education


CONSULTATIVE SCHOOL BOARD

BOARD MEMBERS

Marty Burke
Jeff Cova
Nancy Harrell
Lisa Hartung
Fr. Timothy Donovan
Derek J. McGregor
Dr. Michael Moodian
Angeline Trudell

STAFF

Andy Sulick, President
Cheri Wood, Principal
Michelle Lencioni, Vice President/Chief Financial Officer
Sergio Muniz, Vice President
Laurie Beach, Senior Director of Advancement
Lori Evers, Executive Assistant to the President