St. Stephen School announces new principal

Elizabeth Black becomes principal of St. Stephen School on July 7, 2021.

Fr. Scott Nolan, pastor of St. Stephen Parish in East Grand Rapids, is pleased to announce Ms. Elizabeth Black as the school’s new principal starting July 7. She was selected from a talented candidate pool in a competitive interviewing process that culminated in a unanimous recommendation from the search committee, made up of teachers, parents, parishioners, and the school board.

Ms. Black returns to her native West Michigan from northern Virginia, where she was most recently the dean of faculty and curriculum at Oakcrest School in Vienna, Virginia. She holds a bachelor of arts in classical and early Christian studies from Christendom College in Virginia and a master of arts in liturgical studies from the University of St. Mary of the Lake in Illinois.

“I am excited to be returning to the Diocese of Grand Rapids and serving the community of St. Stephen,” says Ms. Black. “I look forward to leading the teachers, staff, students and families as principal of the school and using my person-centered vision and extensive educational experience in curriculum and faculty to create this next chapter in St. Stephen’s history.”

The parish and school community enthusiastically welcome Ms. Black as she shares an educational philosophy grounded in the Catholic understanding of the human person, academic excellence, and character formation. “What excites me most about Ms. Black taking on this role is her deep understanding of the Catholic faith, her commitment to discipleship and evangelization, and the creativity with which she approaches our school’s unique position,” says Father Nolan. “We welcome her to our parish family and look forward to her skillful and faith-filled leadership of our school!”

Ms. Black succeeds Ms. Cindy Thomas who served for 17 years as the principal of St. Stephen. Ms. Thomas is retiring at the end of the 2020-21 school year.

For nearly a century St. Stephen School has been educating young minds of all backgrounds throughout greater Grand Rapids. With a focus on the formation of intellect, will, and heart, St. Stephen School is committed to developing the whole person in an academic setting. The school is currently enrolling pre-k through eighth grade students for the 2021-2022 school year. For more information email

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