Sr. Joan Sorge, O.P.
St. Agnes Grade School
Diocese of Springfield
National Catholic Educational Association
Springfield, Illinois

For Sr. Joan Sorge, the spiritual and faith development of all members of her school community has been her highest aim—and accomplishment—for more than 25 years as a Catholic school leader. “I model for my school community my own ongoing faith development and strive to involve staff, students, and parents in activities and experiences that will deepen their understanding of the Catholic faith and nurture their spiritual growth and formation,” she says. Sorge has presided over four Catholic schools in her long career as a principal. She arrived at St. Agnes Grade School more than five years ago. The urban pre-kindergarten through grade 8 school’s enrollment is now 444. She has expanded learning opportunities through innovations in the school’s curriculum and programs. Her tenure has brought a preschool program, a hands-on science laboratory on site, upgraded instructional technology, an automated library system, and evaluation and cycling of textbooks and other learning materials. She looks to the vision conveyed in the school’s long-range plan as a focus for her work. The plan’s goals are regularly reviewed by key stakeholders of the school. To support those goals, she established a school development program that encompasses an annual fund, grant money, an endowment, memorial gifts, and other efforts to cultivate support. She has a B.S. from St. Ambrose College in Iowa and an M.A. from the University of Illinois.