Notre Dame High School Welcomes New Head Of School And Academic Dean

  • Wednesday, April 17, 2024
Eric Schexnaildre
Eric Schexnaildre

Notre Dame High School and Diocese of Knoxville Superintendent of Catholic Schools Mary Ann Deschaine announced two leadership appointments at the school, Chattanooga’s oldest private school.

Eric Schexnaildre, Ed.D. (SHEX-NI-DER), Notre Dame High School Class of ’96, has been appointed the new Head of School of Notre Dame High School effective July 1. Dr. Schexnaildre returns to Vermont Avenue after having spent the mid-1990s as a student at Our Lady of Perpetual Help (OLPH) and Notre Dame High School.

“I love Notre Dame High School,” said Dr. Schexnaildre of his new role. “That place is very, very important to me. This is not a job for me, but absolutely a calling home, and I cannot wait to help revitalize my alma mater that did so much for me.”

Dr. Schexnaildre has served within Catoosa County (Ga.) Schools, most recently as Assistant Principal and Athletics Director at Heritage High School in Ringgold. During his tenure at Heritage, Dr. Schexnaildre also oversaw the Career, Technical and Agricultural Education program for the school. He brings a wealth of experience in educational leadership. He obtained his Doctor of Education degree from Georgia Southern University in 2011, having studied Educational Leadership and Administration.

“I look forward to a continuation of the faith-filled environment at Notre Dame High School under the watch of Dr. Schexnaildre,” said Mary Ann Deschaine, Superintendent of Catholic Schools for the Diocese of Knoxville. “He is a God-fearing man who loves Notre Dame High School and has a great vision for the future direction of this incredible institution. The Diocese is excited to have an individual at the helm of the school with a long-term vision and plan to push the school to the next level, and beyond.”

Dr. Schexnaildre was born in Louisiana and raised in Catholic schools. His family relocated to Chattanooga where he attended OLPH in 8th grade and then attended and graduated from Notre Dame High School. Known for a persistent work ethic, Dr. Schexnaildre is motivated to unite the alumni community alongside him, behind their alma mater. Notre Dame High School, founded in 1876, has over 7,000 alumni nationwide.

As a student at Notre Dame High School, Dr. Schexnaildre starred for both the football and baseball teams, including playing as a four-year starter at quarterback, and four-year letterman in baseball.

For more than two years, Deacon Hicks Armor dutifully served as Interim Head of School for Notre Dame High School while the Diocese of Knoxville has searched for the right person for its Head of School position.

“We thank Deacon Armor and his selflessness as he has guided Notre Dame High School these last two years,” said Superintendent Deschaine. “It is not easy being an interim leader, and the Deacon carried the baton in a manner in which he, and the school community, should be proud.”

Please read below a note from Dr. Schexnaildre to the school community:

Dear Notre Dame Students, Families, and Alumni,

I am deeply honored and blessed to accept the Head of School position at Notre Dame High School. I am extremely grateful to the interview committee for placing their trust in me to lead Notre Dame High School moving forward.

The Notre Dame High School mission "to share the Catholic faith in an environment which fosters spiritual growth and academic excellence and embraces religious, academic, cultural, and economic diversity" was at the core of my experience as a student nearly thirty years ago. As a proud alumnus, I am forever indebted to the Notre Dame High School community for the invaluable experiences, teachings, and relationships I acquired as a student.

As Head of School, I look forward to leading the efforts in uniting our alumni and the entire Notre Dame community to jointly create a vision for the current and future students attending Notre Dame High School. Relentlessly, we will work together to further our mission and create a strategic plan to move forward.

The future is bright for Notre Dame, and we hope you will join us in building a lasting legacy for our students.

Sincerely,

Dr. Eric Schexnaildre ‘96

Dr. Schexnaildre and his wife, Ashley, have two daughters: Annabell, who will attend Notre Dame High School as a sophomore next year, and Ella, who will be in 7th grade at OLPH.

In addition to Dr. Schexnaildre, Melissa Wolff has been appointed Dean of Academics for Notre Dame High School. This promotion is also effective July 1.

Mrs. Wolff, M. Ed., has served as an English instructor at Notre Dame High School since 2007, Registrar for the school since 2011, and as academic coordinator since 2022, in addition to serving as cheerleading coach during football season.

“Internal promotions are always preferable, when possible,” Superintendent Deschaine said. “Elevating Melissa Wolff into this position as Dean of Academics is an opportunity to strengthen an asset for Notre Dame High School and enhance the benefit of the institutional knowledge that she has accrued in the nearly two decades she has spent on campus.”

This new Dean of Academics role will work together with the Head of School position.

“The Head of School, for the time being, will function as a hybrid of the previously posted Principal and Head of School roles,” said Superintendent Deschaine. “This will give Dr. Schexnaildre the opportunity to assess and evaluate the needs of the school from a leadership perspective before potential future hires; I want him to have the opportunity to build a staff that supports the needs of the Notre Dame High School community.”

Jamie Goodhard, M.Ed., has fulfilled the school’s principal responsibilities as Interim Assistant Head of School since 2022. Prior to that she worked for nearly three decades at both OLPH and St. Jude School, including serving as Principal at SJS for 20 years before her retirement in 2021. A special request from the Diocese of Knoxville pulled her out of retirement and into her current role.

“Mrs. Goodhard’s dedication to Catholic education in Chattanooga is unmatched,” said Superintendent Deschaine. “After an entire career at OLPH and St. Jude, she has spent the past two years galvanizing the faculty at Notre Dame High School in an impressive manner, and I cannot thank her enough for her efforts and accomplishments in those hallways. From all accounts, and what I have seen myself, Mrs. Goodhard’s labor has served to turn around that institution and their faculty’s morale, and I will always be grateful for that.”

“Notre Dame High School has been home to me for 18 years,” Mrs. Wolff said of her new role. “I have been blessed with good mentors, and I am excited to continue to bring the energy that Mrs. Goodhard has brought to the teachers these past two years. The families are the heart and soul of our school, and I look forward to serving all of them in this new role. Go Irish!”

Mrs. Wolff and her husband, Dr. Michael Wolff, have a son, Trip, who attends St. Jude School.

Melissa Wolff
Melissa Wolff
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