Ireton's Tim Hamer to retire

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After serving as principal of Bishop Ireton High School in Alexandria since 2008, Tim Hamer will retire at the end of the current school year.

Hamer, a 1978 Ireton graduate, earned a bachelor's degree from DeSales University in Center Valley, Pa., and a master's in educational administration from the University of Virginia in Charlottesville.

Hamer has served in a variety of positions at Ireton including director of advancement and finance, assistant principal, interim principal and the first lay principal since the departure of the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales.

In a letter to the Ireton community, Hamer said that working at Ireton was among the greatest blessings of his life.

"Thanks to the dedication of diocesan leaders, a fantastic board of governors, incredibly committed parents, a faculty and staff second to none, and to the support of thousands of alumni, friends and benefactors, Bishop Ireton High School shines as a beacon of Catholic school excellence rooted in the unique spirituality of its patron St. Francis de Sales," Hamer wrote.

Under his leadership, the school produced the first long-range strategic plan. Hamer authored the "Live Jesus Charter," which roots the school's Catholic identity in the spirituality of St. Francis de Sales, and introduced many academic and administrative improvements.

In a letter to Ireton parents, Sister Bernadette McManigal, diocesan superintendent of schools, thanked Hamer for his years of service and his dedication to Ireton.

"We will miss Tim's leadership but are thankful for his contributions to the school. Bishop Paul S. Loverde joins me in thanking Tim and in wishing him well for the future," wrote Sister Bernadette.

Mary Kelly, Ireton director of communications, said that Hamer would continue to work until the end of the school year, but he told Sister Bernadette that he would stay on until Dec. 31 if needed.

In his letter, Hamer said he will continue to work for Catholic schools, serving as a member of the team at the Institute for School and Parish Development, from Metairie, La., "assisting Catholic schools and parishes across the nation in meeting the challenges that have led to the closure of so many over the last few years."

Hamer said that he loves Ireton, but that he has some health issues that need to be resolved. He is at peace with his decision.

"It's bittersweet," he said. "But now is the right time to leave."

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2013