Barbara A. Cole
St. John Neumann Catholic School
Diocese of Charleston
National Catholic Education Association
Columbia, South Carolina

Barbara A. Cole“I feel that I have been very blessed to work in a school that is so Christ-oriented,” says Barbara Cole. Cole has been principal of St. John Neumann Catholic School since 2001. The suburban Pre-K-6 school serves 366 students today. Cole commends her cohesive and caring faculty of 40 for attending all evening events hosted by the school, for sharing fellowship during social activities, and for generously meeting each other’s needs with prayers and material support. The supportive culture extends to the school’s families. A mentor program pairs newcomers with established families. Parents also readily meet the expectation to volunteer in the school. Cole shows appreciation for such support by writing handwritten notes to all parents. She also makes teachers and students feel appreciated through such actions as sending each one birthday and Christmas cards. To teach children the value of kindness, each class at her school carries out a community service project. With test scores in the top 10 percent of the nation, the school maintains instructional excellence by regularly reviewing and updating the curriculum. In 18 years as a principal, Cole has led three Catholic schools, including St. Anthony of Padua School in her current diocese and St. Mary School in the Diocese of Peoria in Illinois. She earned a B.Ed. and an M.Ed. from Eastern Illinois University.