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.
Mr. J. Andrew Sulick '91
Mrs. Cheri Wood
ASSISTANT PRINCIPAL - Athletics
Mr. Jim Hartigan
ASSISTANT PRINCIPAL - Academics
Mr. John Hayek
ASSISTANT PRINCIPAL - Student Services
Mr. Tom Smith
ASSISTANT PRINCIPAL - Campus Life
Mr. Sammer Darwazeh
ASSISTANT PRINCIPAL: Instruction and School Climate
Monique Harrison '00
ASSISTANT PRINCIPAL: Mission Integration
Patrick Visconti '06
VICE PRESIDENT - Chief Financial Officer
Mrs. Michelle Balash Lencioni
Mr. Sergio Muniz
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.
Loyola Marymount University
M.A. Catholic Education
University of Redlands
Cheri Wood joined the school's leadership team as principal of SMCHS in 2019 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 leadership experience, most recently at Cornelia Connelly School in Anaheim where she served as head of school. Previously, she held principal positions in both the Diocese of Orange and the Diocese of Washington D.C. and she has held teaching positions at Marymount High School in Los Angeles and in the Upper School of St. Margaret’s Episcopal School in San Juan Capistrano. 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, completed the Klingenstein Summer Fellowship at Teacher’s College, Columbia University and holds a Master of Arts in Psychology and Bachelor of Arts in Psychobiology from Occidental College, Los Angeles.
Notre Dame of Maryland University, Baltimore
Post-Master's Certificate in School of Administration
Occidental College, Los Angeles
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.
Cal State Fullerton
Bachelor's Degree: Physical Education
Azusa Pacific University
Masters in Education
Mr. John Hayek joined SMCHS in 2017, overseeing academics. John is a graduate of De La Salle High School in Northern California and St. Mary's College in Moraga. He received a bachelor's degree and teaching credential in English while simultaneously playing on the men's soccer team. He earned his master's degree in education administration and his administrative credential at National University. John began his teaching career at De La Salle before 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 School in 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 instructional leadership, curriculum development, innovative classroom technology, strategic planning, professional learning communities, facilities, athletics and much more.
St. Mary's College
B.A. - English
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 Attendance & Discipline, Audio/Visual, Education technology, Information Technology and the Nursing Office.
California State University, Long Beach
B.A. - Instrumental Music Education
M.A. - Educational Administration
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 3-time National Champion Ice Hockey team, Nationally-Ranked Songleading team and 7-time OCIEL Overall High Point Champion Equestrian team. Sammer 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.
In addition, Sammer oversees the Campus Dining/Eagle Eats program and serves as the head of Campus Security operations. Sammer is a school liaison to first responders, 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.
B.A. – Political Science
University of San Francisco
M.A. – Sports Management
Mrs. Harrison started her journey in the world of education as a math teacher in 2010 at Nicholas Junior High School in Fullerton, and joined the team here at SM in 2012 as a math teacher and volleyball coach. Since 2018, Mrs. Harrison has been serving as the school’s director of classroom instruction providing mentorship for new and veteran faculty. Her duties also included collaborating with the administrative team on professional development for teachers and hiring quality faculty. As an educational leader, teacher, and mother, she is uniquely qualified and passionate about quality instruction, inclusion and equity. As a product of Catholic schools, and a SM alumna from the class of 2000, she is also committed to the school’s mission and charism of Caritas Christi and will continue to blend our Catholicity with the needs of all students.
Mrs. Harrison holds a Bachelor of Science in advertising and a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University of Colorado, Boulder, and a Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) with a clear credential in mathematics from Chapman University. In her role, she will continue to support all teachers with teaching strategies, lesson planning, classroom management and identification of curriculum resources while overseeing and providing strategic leadership and vision related to the school’s efforts in diversity, inclusion, equity and justice.
University of Colorado, Boulder
B.S. – Advertising
B.A. – Psychology
M.A. – Teaching (MAT)
Patrick in an alumnus of Santa Margarita from the class of 2006. He began his career in education in 2010 as a theology teacher at Servite High School. From there Patrick worked in University Ministry at Loyola Marymount University where he helped support the university’s mission and Catholic identity by running their regional service immersion programs. Patrick returned to Santa Margarita in 2017 as the Director of Campus Ministry where he oversees an office that runs 10+ retreats for students a year, offers multiple liturgies, including all-school masses, and provides a service learning program that is uniquely built for each grade level.
As director, Patrick also oversees the Peer Ministry program which is a 50+ student leadership class within the religion department. In teaching these two sections, students receive the tools to be effective ministers and leaders.
As Assistant Principal, Mission Integration, Patrick assists the school’s mission as a Catholic institution by sitting on the Administrative Board several committees, including Threat Assessment, Mental Health and Wellness, and Curriculum Council. In these roles he works to ensure the charism and mission of the school are present throughout the campus.
University of San Francisco
B.A. – Theology and Religious Studies
Loyola Marymount University
M.A. – Theological Studies
Administrative Certificate in Catholic Leadership/Education
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.
Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo
B.S. - Business Administration/Accounting
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.
University of Southern California
B.S. – Business Administration
Azusa Pacific University
M.S. – Education