Press Room

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contacts:  •  Karen Uthe Semancik, Director of Marketing, 440.331.1572, ext. 282, kuthe[at]maghs[dot]org
                •  P. Kelly Tompkins, Chairperson, Board of Directors, kelly.tompkins[at]cliffsnr[dot]com

1995 Graduate Selected to be School’s Next President.

(ROCKY RIVER, OH) – Magnificat High School’s Board of Directors, with the approval of the Sisters of the Humility of Mary, is pleased to announce the appointment of Jenifer Hebda Halliday ‘95 as the school’s next President effective July 1, 2015. She succeeds Sister Helen Jean Novy, H.M., who has served as Interim President since January.

Ms. Halliday has extensive school leadership experience, currently serving as Director of Hawken Middle School and as a member of Hawken School’s Administrative Council. She has worked at Hawken since 2005, serving in many roles, including teaching, admissions, student life, special projects and administration. She also spent three years at ACS Hillingdon International School in London as a teacher and curriculum coordinator. Ms. Halliday started her professional career at Magnificat in 2000, where she taught social studies for two years.

The native Clevelander and Fairview Park resident’s educational background includes a Bachelor of Arts in History and Education, and a Master of Arts in Education Administration, both from John Carroll University. She has also served as an instructor at John Carroll in graduate-level education through the school’s Site Based Program.

Ms. Halliday is active with and has served on many national and international educational committees and panels, including as Chair of the Independent Schools Association of the Central States (ISACS) Self-Study Committee on Middle School Program, as a presenter at the INDEX Annual Conference on The Benefits of Measuring School Culture and Climate and as a panel expert at the Mission Skills Assessment (MSA) Annual Conference on Teaching Character and Shaping Culture. Earlier this year, she was invited to participate in Oxford University’s Conference on Virtue Ethics, and last year presented a paper at Oxford entitled Using Culture as a Teaching Tool for Character Education.

As President of Magnificat, Ms. Halliday will be charged with a wide range of responsibilities, including implementing the strategic plan, directing advancement and alumnae initiatives, and overseeing marketing and admissions campaigns. She will be the school’s fourth President and second lay leader.

“I am truly honored to return to my alma mater to serve as its next President. Having started my professional career at Magnificat, I feel blessed to rejoin this supportive and faithful community. As we enter into our next chapter, I look forward to working together to uphold Magnificat’s Mission and support the growth of our extraordinary young women,” says Ms. Halliday.

“It is an exciting time for Magnificat High School. After a three-month search, the Search Committee, Board of Directors, and Sisters of the Humility of Mary were convinced that Jen’s experience, zeal, and passion for education and the empowerment of young women will be invaluable to the Magnificat Community. Jen understands and appreciates the virtues of teaching and learning and is most eager to lead a Catholic, faith-based school,” says Ambassador Heather Hodges ‘64, Chairperson of the Search Committee and a member of the Magnificat High School Board of Directors.

“Our Search Committee dedicated itself to a thorough process throughout, and the candidates were highly attracted to our exemplary school. Among the diverse array of highly qualified professionals, we have found in Jen a true academic leader who understands the Magnificat Mission and who will be a inspirational role model for our young women,” says Mr. Kelly Tompkins, Chairperson of the Magnificat High School Board of Directors.

“Jen will be joining an experienced and talented Senior Leadership Team, and I am confident her collaborative leadership style will help this team realize an even brighter future for our school. Jen comes with the unanimous and enthusiastic support of our Board with whom she will be closely working to advance our strategic plan objectives,” he adds.

Ms. Halliday enjoys spending time with her family--husband, Chris Halliday, and twin daughters, Molly and Maddie. She makes time for cooking, writing, reading and running, and is a Girl Scout leader.

Magnificat High School, a girls’ Catholic college-preparatory high school, founded and sponsored by the Sisters of the Humility of Mary, calls young women to live Mary’s Magnificat in the world. The school’s Mission is to educate young women holistically to learn, lead and serve in the spirit of Mary’s Magnificat.

Magnificat High School is located at 20770 Hilliard Blvd. in Rocky River.

Juniors Malia Minarik and Alexis Schweibinz won second place in the recent Veale Youth Entrepreneurship Forum Business Plan Competition for their business ASMM Jewelry & Metal Arts. You can read more about their business as featured in FreshWaterCleveland.com.

Drones and Robots and Physics, oh my! Honors Physics classes created quite a buzz when a drone was used to capture their robotics lab work. Click here to read more and see a photo gallery, as reported on Cleveland.com.

Magnificat High School's Mary Grace Becker '15 collected 179 pairs of jeans for the Teens for Jeans campaign that benefits homeless teens. Read her story as reported on in the West Life newspaper. 

Magnificat High School today announced that Mrs. Julie Sims Gibbons '80 becomes the school's first VP of Institutional Advancement. To read the announcement in its entirety, please click here.

The Magnificat High School Board of Directors today announced that Sister Helen Jean Novy, H.M., currently Magnificat's Vice President of Mission, has been appointed Interim President during the pendency of the school's search process. More.

Magnificat High School today announced that Mr. Paul Barlow will become the school's new Athletic Director as of mid-March 2015. To read the announcement in its entirety, please click here. To read the story on Cleveland.com, click here.

Magnificat High School today announced that Mrs. Renata J. Rafferty will step down in June 2015 after completing two years of service as the school’s first lay President. The Board of Directors accepted Mrs. Rafferty’s request to conclude her service at the end of the current school year. Please click here to read the press release in its entirety. 

Magnificat is proud to have two Semifinalists 
in the 2015 National Merit Scholarship Competition: Caitrin Campbell and Alexandra Norris, and four Commended students: Caitlyn Harrington, Hanleigh Heinzmann, Megan Hricovec and Elizabeth Leszcz. Congratulations, ladies! Please click here to see a photo of these students, and click here to read more in the West Shore Chatter column of the West Shore Sun newspaper.

Thanks to the generous support of the Lakewood/Rocky River Rotary and the Sisters of the Humility of Mary, a 20' x 24' Hoop House has been installed on the grounds of Magnificat. Student volunteers will be growing vegetables in the house to donate to area food banks. The Hoop House will also be used as a classroom space. Reporter Mrs. Sue Botos from West Life newspaper recently visited Magnificat to share this story with Westshore residents, and you can read the article in its entirety by clicking here.

2014-2015

3-3-15: Juniors Malia Minarik and Alexis Schweibinz won second place in the recent Veale Youth Entrepreneurship Forum Business Plan Competition for their business ASMM Jewelry & Metal Arts. You can read more about their business as featured in FreshWaterCleveland.com.

2-27-15: Honors Physics Classes Use a Drone to Film Robotics Building

Drones and Robots and Physics, oh my! Honors Physics classes created quite a buzz when a drone was used to capture their robotics lab work. Click here to read more and see a photo gallery, as reported on Cleveland.com.

2-26-15: Magnificat Senior Collects 179 Pairs of Jeans for Homeless Teens

Magnificat High School's Mary Grace Becker '15 collected 179 pairs of jeans for the Teens for Jeans campaign that benefits homeless teens. Read her story as reported on in the West Life newspaper. 

2-24-15: Magnificat Announces Appointment of VP of Institutional Advancement

Magnificat High School today announced that Mrs. Julie Sims Gibbons '80 becomes the school's first VP of Institutional Advancement. To read the announcement in its entirety, please click here.

1-29-15: Magnificat Announces Appointment of Interim President

The Magnificat High School Board of Directors today announced that Sister Helen Jean Novy, H.M., currently Magnificat's Vice President of Mission, has been appointed Interim President during the pendency of the school's search process. More.

12-4-14: Magnificat Announces Appointment of New Athletic Director

Magnificat High School today announced that Mr. Paul Barlow will become the school's new Athletic Director as of mid-March 2015. To read the announcement in its entirety, please click here. To read the story on Cleveland.com, click here.

10-23-14: Magnificat President Stepping Down at End of School Year

Magnificat High School today announced that Mrs. Renata J. Rafferty will step down in June 2015 after completing two years of service as the school’s first lay President. The Board of Directors accepted Mrs. Rafferty’s request to conclude her service at the end of the current school year. Please click here to read the press release in its entirety. 

10-2-14: Six Magnificat Students Named to 2015 National Merit Scholarship Program

Magnificat is proud to have two Semifinalists 
in the 2015 National Merit Scholarship Competition: Caitrin Campbell and Alexandra Norris, and four Commended students: Caitlyn Harrington, Hanleigh Heinzmann, Megan Hricovec and Elizabeth Leszcz. Congratulations, ladies! Please click here to see a photo of these students, and click here to read more in the West Shore Chatter column of the West Shore Sun newspaper.

8-27-14: Hoop House Allows Student Gardeners to Grow Community Service

Thanks to the generous support of the Lakewood/Rocky River Rotary Club and the Sisters of the Humility of Mary, a 20' x 24' custom Hoop House has been installed on the grounds of Magnificat. Student volunteers have been actively growing vegetables in the house this summer and should be able to continue growing well into December. Vegetables grown will be donated to area food banks. The Hoop House was recently featured on www.cleveland.com and in Sun Newspapers. You can read the story by clicking here.

5-29-14: Hoop House Installed on Magnificat Campus--as seen in West Life newspaper

Thanks to the generous support of the Lakewood/Rocky River Rotary and the Sisters of the Humility of Mary, a 20' x 24' Hoop House has been installed on the grounds of Magnificat. Student volunteers will be growing vegetables in the house to donate to area food banks. The Hoop House will also be used as a classroom space. Reporter Mrs. Sue Botos from West Life newspaper recently visited Magnificat to share this story with Westshore residents, and you can read the article in its entirety by clicking here.

 

TO READ OUR LATEST PUBLICATIONS

Magnificat Messenger--April 2015 ENewsletter

Magnificat Magazine--Winter 2015

Click here to read the 2013-2014 Press Room Archive.

Click here to read the 2012-2013 Press Room Archive.

Previous Years

Thanks to the generous support of the Lakewood/Rocky River Rotary and the Sisters of the Humility of Mary, a 20' x 24' Hoop House has been installed on the grounds of Magnificat. Student volunteers will be growing vegetables in the house to donate to area food banks. The Hoop House will also be used as a classroom space. Reporter Mrs. Sue Botos from West Life newspaper recently visited Magnificat to share this story with Westshore residents, and you can read the article in its entirety by clicking here.

WOIO-TV 19 Action News covered Magnificat students completing internships at the prestigious Cleveland Clinic. To read more, click here.

WOIO-TV 19 Action News covered internationally recognized author Ms. Deborah Ellis during her visit to Magnificat. Her book My Name is Parvana was the recent all school read. Click here to read more.

Holocaust Survivor Max Edelman Spoke to Magnificat about his four years in a concentration camp, including being blinded by a guard. He was introduced to the school by Macy Nauman ’13 after she met him at a Guiding Eyes for the Blind event. She and her family raise pups for the organization.

Mr. Edelman’s appearance was covered by many media outlets, including WEWS-TV 5 and West Life newspaper.

  • For WEWS TV-5 coverage of the story, please click here.
  • To read the West Life newspaper article, please click here.

So what's it like to be a "Mags Girl?"  Several Magnificat students recently participated in a production shoot to film four short videos explaining what it's like to be a Magnificat student and what Magnificat means to them. Each video shares a word that is important to thestudents, including Faith, Learning, Leading and Serving. 

FAITH--The first of these short videos features Molly '17 who chose the word Faith and how Magnificat allows her to practice her faith every day. Last year at this time Molly was an 8th grader deciding on which school to attend for her high school career. She chose Magnificat and is a young woman of faith learning, leading and serving in the spirit of Mary's Magnificat. We will be sharing these videos with other young women as they begin to make their own high school choices. 

  

LEARNING--The second in the series of these short Mags Girls videos features Liz and Allison '16 who chose the word Learning, and how Magnificat allows them to Learn Chinese and take AP Classes as Sophomores. These are only two of the reasons Liz and Allison chose to attend Magnificat for their high school careers. Click on their video to hear more about why they chose to become Mags Girls. 

 

LEADING--Listen to Magnificat Seniors Nardine and Hina as they share how they Lead at Magnificat High School. Both have become confident young women, leading in ways they wouldn't have thought possible before attending Magnificat. This is the third of four videos featuring Magnificat students sharing their high school experiences. 

 

SERVING--Freshmen Molly and Sofia have already gotten involved with many service opportunities at Magnificat High School through co-curriculars such as Animal Lovers Club and Magnificat Outreach Club, as well as various offerings through Campus Ministry. In fact, the two met while serving in two of the same clubs. They tell their story in this last video in our series of four.

 

A Girl Scout troop from Berea and many other grade-school students enjoyed an after-school event at Magnificat that explored how to start recycling programs and sustainability clubs at their own schools. Led by Mrs. Heidi Paul "Mother Earth" and members of Magnificat's Student Sustainability Club, future Blue Streaks attended a workshop that included a keynote address from Ms. Kathleen Rocco, Education Specialist for the Cuyahoga County Solid Waste District. To learn more, click here to read the article posted on cleveland.com and in Sun Newspapers.

Sixty future Blue Streaks enjoyed "A Day of Animal Appreciation" on March 29, as Cleveland Metroparks Zoo came to Magnificat to share 10 of its animals with girls in grades 5-8. The attendees enjoyed a day of education, enrichment, technology and collaboration as they researched their animals and presented their findings. Read more about this unique partnership as reported on by West Life and Sun News/Cleveland.com.

Magnificat High School students were a little less anxious during January semester exams thanks to some furry, four-legged guests. The Magnificat Animal Lovers Club organized a "dog therapy session" before semester exams, with up to six certified therapy dogs onsite the mornings before exams. From a giant Irish Wolfhound named Maggie May to a toy Yorkie/Pomeranian mix named Olivia, tails were wagging and anxiety was dropping. Experts say that petting a dog lowers blood pressure and anxiety and Magnificat students agree, with many asking if we could do this for all exam sessions. The Animal Lovers Club already has a waiting list of dogs and owners who want to be considered for spring finals. Please click here to read more as about this pilot project as reported on in Sun Newspapers. And to read the article that appeared in West Life, click here.

Elizabeth Beattie '09, now a Ph.D. student at the University of Pennsylvania, recently had her undergraduate engineering research featured on CNN. She and her team are profiled for their research on the Titan Bionic Arm. You can see the whole story by clicking here.

The Magnificat Garden Club's Seeds of Service project helped produce over 300 pounds of fruits and vegetables through the Rocky River Community Garden. The produce will go directly to the Rocky River food pantry and local Meals on Wheels program. To read the complete story on cleveland.com and Sun Newspapers, click here.

Magnificat is proud to announce three Commended Students in the 2014 National Merit Program. Click here to meet these students.

Cleveland.com covered our second annual LEGO NXT Robotics day for girls in grades 5-8. To read the story, click here.

Mrs. Renata J. Rafferty

Mrs. Renata J. Rafferty

On August 27, 2013, Magnificat High School installed its third President, and first lay leader, Mrs. Renata J. Rafferty. If you haven't yet met our new President and would like to hear her vow to remain true to the Magnificat Mission, please click hereThis short video features Mrs. Rafferty's speech from her Installation Ceremony.

  • To view a Photo Gallery from Mrs. Renata J. Rafferty's Installation Ceremony, please click here.
  • Mrs. Barbara Galbincea of Northeast Ohio Media Group (Sun Newspapers and Cleveland.com), was the first to sit down with Mrs. Rafferty to find out more about Magnificat's first lay President. You can read the entire article and enjoy a short video of Mrs. Rafferty introducing the new Marian Commons area by clicking here.
  • West Life newspaper's Mrs. Sue Botos sat down with Magnificat's new President, Mrs. Renata J. Rafferty, for a Q & A session, finding out that Mrs. Rafferty vows to remain true to the school's Mission. To read the article, click here.

 

In its June 3-9, 2013 edition, Crain's Cleveland Business features a lovely reflection piece on Sister Carol Anne Smith--and her more than 20 years of service to Magnificat High School--in its annual Prep and Parochial Education section. Click here to see more.

Renata J. Rafferty

(ROCKY RIVER, OH) – Magnificat High School’s Board of Directors, with the support of the Sisters of the Humility of Mary, is pleased to announce the appointment of Renata J. Rafferty as the next President of Magnificat High School effective July 1, 2013. She succeeds Sister Carol Anne Smith, H.M. who announced in late 2012 that she was stepping down at the end of the current school year.  Click here to read more.

Click here to read the article on Renata that appeared in Sun Newspapers and on Cleveland.com.

Click here to read the article on our new President that appeared in West Life newspaper.