by A.C. Brown ’10
President Heather Gossart announced that she is stepping down from her position after fourteen years. It is time for someone else to step up to the plate and continue her dream of making even more improvements to our school. The decision to step down started eighteen months ago when “the real discernment” of retirement crossed her mind. The main reason this decision came to her mind was as she said, “To be home more often” and to spend more time with her husband who will be retiring a year from January.
She has made many sacrifices have been made for the school instead of for her family. During the month of July, she contacted Brother Tom Dziekan, the Provincial Superior of the Eastern Province of the Congregation of Holy Cross, and Dan Curtin, the Head of the board of directors, about her stepping down from the office of President. After this happened, a National search began to find her successor. While the search was going on, she was asked not to speak publicly until the board Meeting on Sept. 30th. After this meeting took place, she sent letters to various foundations and Alumni. Then, she addressed the teachers about it on Oct. 1st in a meeting in the theater in the fine arts center. In the meeting she expressed her gratitude and love for the school community. Ms. Dean, the Dorothy Day Service Coordinator, described the announcement as “bitter-sweet.” She explained further, saying “It was sad to see her go, but happy for her since she is starting a new chapter.” The next day, Mrs. Gossart informed the students of her decision on WMAC with Principal Marco Clark.
When asked about what she will be doing since she will not be President of McNamara, she stated, “I called St. Anne’s Hospital to be a rocker once a week.” Other things she has planned are to volunteer, to be present during McNamara events and to travel to Africa and China. Even though she plans to come back and help out next year, she plans to maintain a low profile so the future President can do their job effectively without the distraction of their predecessor
After all the progress the school has made under Mrs. Gossart, she still has a lot planned for the future. She would like our school to begin with a few additions including a formal science wing, an expansion of existing facilities, and a Special Education Program. She explained her motivation of these plans saying, “If a school stops moving forward, it starts sliding back.”
Even though the future brought a smile to her face, the smile grew bigger when she was asked about what she would miss most about Bishop McNamara. She said, “Not having a day-to-day relationship with the students.” These, along with her favorite memory of graduation, which she said, “Fills you with pride and gratitude,” are some of the many reasons why she always loved this job. She recalled the many times when people would ask about her children, and she automatically thought about the students here at our school. When describing some qualities she will remember about the student body, she said, “hilariously funny.” This Presidential legacy can be summed up through Mrs. Gossart’s own words: “This place is better because I was here.”