St. Benedict Preparatory School
Great schools require great leaders. Great leaders know how to energize and inspire everyone to contribute to the successful creation of a school mission and culture. St. Benedict Preparatory School is blessed to have a team of state-certified, Catholic-university-educated school administrators to lead SBPS through the 21st century landscape. SBPS is the hallmark of a long-standing legacy of Catholic educational excellence at St. Benedict Parish, making it the sole remaining co-ed parochial Preschool through Grade 8 program in the Archdiocese of Chicago. We value and honor this unique Preschool through Grade 8 program, and have intentionally created structures, roles and programs to fully realize all the benefits this model will provide students and families.
The Administration structure at St. Benedict Preparatory School employs a unique leadership model that differs from most Chicago Catholic schools. The Catholic educational mission of SBPS is the foundation for the reasons how and why we do what we do.
Fr. Steve Kanonik, our pastor, entrusts the operation of the school to our Head of Parish School (HOPS), Ms. Rachel Gemo. Guided by our twenty member school advisory board, SBPS has moved forward in advancing its strategic plan: Reaching New Heights 2020 to ensure continued academic excellence. Ms. Gemo directs the over 100 caring and mission-driven faculty and staff members who educate over 650 students.
In order for Ms. Gemo to lead this faculty and staff well, and still create a “personalized feel” for each family in a large, vibrant community, the administration team is divided as listed below. This structure allows for the SBPS administration to focus on the unique social, emotional, and educational needs of the grade-level students whom they serve:
Head of Lower School (PK-Grade 3)
Head of Upper School (Grade 4-8)
Ms. Rachel Gemo, Head of Parish School (HOPS)
Prior to Ms. Gemo serving as the Head of Parish School and CEO of St. Benedict Preparatory School, she served as the principal of St. Benedict Elementary (Grades PS-8) from July 2003 through June 2010.
Before serving as the principal here, Ms. Gemo “wore several professional hats” at St. Ferdinand School on the northwest side of Chicago since the fall of 1996. She taught middle school language arts, math, science, social studies and religion. She also served as the middle school unit leader, the assistant principal and Confirmation teacher for 8th graders. Additionally, Ms. Gemo worked professionally as an adjunct instructor for DePaul University from September 2008 – May 2010. She served as Student Teacher Supervisor, Student Teaching Capstone Teacher as well as taught Social Studies Teaching Methods at the graduate level. Ms. Gemo continues her professional development, focusing on several areas such as inclusion education, technology integration, mission advancement and Catholic faith-formation.
Ms. Rachel Waldron, Head of Lower School, joined St. Benedict in 2010 as Preschool Director. She became Head of Early Childhood in 2013 and Head of Lower School, leading PreK through Third Grade in 2018. Ms. Waldron previously served as Assistant Principal at St. Mary of the Angels.