Resurrection Catholic Elementary School reopened this month with a new principal. – Sister Marilyn Springs, IWBS, PhD. Sister Marilyn is a Sister of the Incarnate Word and Blessed Sacrament (IWBS). She was born in Buffalo, NY, and attended Catholic school there until she moved to Texas while in high school to take care of her ailing paternal grandmother.
“I realized that I was being called to religious life around the age of 18. However, I wanted to finish college and work for a while before I was ready spiritually to enter the convent,” Sister Marilyn said.
A year after her grandmother passed, she applied to Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio, TX. It was there that she received her Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and then went on to teach in the public school system in San Antonio.
However, after teaching for seven years, she wanted to do something else with her life. When she received a call from a Sister of the Incarnate Word, who was principal of a small Catholic school in San Antonio, and who needed a first-grade teacher, Sister Marilyn knew this was the change she was looking for.
She applied to enter the Sisters of the Incarnate Word and Blessed Sacrament in Corpus Christi, TX, in 1992, and after years of training to become a Sister, she was sent to St. Mary’s University where she received her Master’s degree in Catholic School Leadership.
She was sent to Brownsville, TX, where she served as principal of Incarnate Word Academy for 14 years. After her time there, she became the principal of Holy Family Catholic School in Corpus Christi, TX, in 2017. Sister Marilyn also received her Doctorate degree in Educational Leadership from St. Thomas University in Miami, FL, during this time.
Last year, Bishop Kihneman sent out an invitation to her Mother Superior asking if there were any Sisters of the Incarnate Word interested in ministering in the Diocese of Biloxi, but at that time there were no sisters free to do so. When the position of principal became available at RCES this Spring, Sister Marilyn applied for it and was officially appointed as principal in July.
Sister Marilyn was a teacher for 24 years, having taught in San Antonio, TX, Corpus Christi, TX, and Brownsville, TX. She was also an assistant principal for two years and taught fifth grade while an assistant principal. She also taught in several grade levels ranging from K-4 to high school. Once she became a principal, she no longer taught classes.
Sister Marilyn feels she’ll bring her passion for Catholic education to Resurrection.
“I want my students at RCES to have a love for the Eucharist and to instill in them a sense of service for others, as well as receiving a quality education.”
As a teacher, Sister Marilyn always instilled in her students a sense of responsibility for justice, peace, love of neighbor and self, and gratitude of hope.
“Jesus should be the focus of their lives as disciples of Christ.”
As a principal, her focus in any school she ministered in was to emphasize how much God loves them, and how much she loves them.
“When students feel loved, safe, and nurtured, they will automatically want to be a part of the learning process. I am also a stickler for the curriculum. If the curriculum is strong in a school, and expectations for learning is a top priority, students will know what to expect from their teachers.”
Her favorite part about teaching was getting up every morning and greeting students as they came into the school. She loved the daily interaction with the students and enjoyed visiting every classroom every day to walk through to see how students were doing. Not having enough time to cover everything she wanted to do in the classroom was her least favorite part of teaching.
“Time flies when you enjoy what you are doing.”
Coming to RCES during the Covid-19 pandemic will be somewhat of a challenge, but Sister Marilyn believes that the Resurrection Protocol is in line with the CDC and the Diocese of Biloxi guidelines and that every precaution will be taken into consideration for keeping students safe.
Sister Marilyn would like to add a few changes to the RCES campus that will include looking into upgrades for security, such as adding new fencing around the school. She’ll also be adding new extracurricular activities for the students, such as sponsoring the National Elementary Honor Society, Student Council, Art club, and making the Girl Scout troop more vibrant.
With her vast knowledge of curriculum combined with her experience as an instructional leader, Sister Marilyn will be a blessing to RCES. The motto she lives by is: Let your light shine so that others will see Christ in you.
When she is not working, Sister Marilyn spends her time with her hobbies. She’s a professional artist and specializes in acrylic painting of cultural themes. She also plays several instruments, such as the guitar, cello, and trumpet. She also loves to garden whenever she can find the time to do so.
“I am blessed to be given the opportunity to serve and minister to Resurrection Catholic School. With God, all things are possible, and together we can accomplish great things.”