ROXBOROUGH >> It’s that time of the year again ... school bells will be ringing soon.
When the students at Immaculate Heart of Mary return to school in September, they will encounter a new presence behind the principal’s desk: Andrew Lowry.
Lowry will be taking the helm following the departure of Rochelle Grasso, who left in June after four years at the school to return to teaching and pursue a special education degree.
For Lowry, it will essentially be his rookie season as a principal after spending 15 years as a classroom teacher. His most recent assignment was at the St. Aloysius School in Bryn Mawr. Prior to that, he had an eight-year stint at the St. Mary Magdalene School in Wilmington, Del.; five years at Holy Spirit; and one at St. Kevin’s, the latter two in Philadelphia.
Lowry grew up in the Upper Darby area, graduating high school from Monsignor Bonner. He did his undergraduate work in urban childhood education at Penn State Delaware County and later added a masters degree in educational leadership from Neumann College in Aston.
Interestingly enough, Lowry is the owner of a Phillies World Series ring from 2008, which he received while working his second job doing security and ushering for the Phillies Premium Services Club at Citizen’s Bank Park. Of course, he’s hoping the Phillies help him “get a second ring in 2018,” he said.
Lowry will get plenty of time each morning driving along the Blue Route to mentally prepare for his day as he commutes from Wallingford, Delaware County, where he lives with his wife, Jessica, and twin sons, Andrew Jr. and Joseph.
Lowry has spent the summer getting the lay of the land at IHM and meeting with individual faculty members to lay the groundwork for the upcoming school year. Lowry said he has been excited by the warm reception he has received from the “incredible teachers” he has met and looks forward to the opportunity to revitalize the bonds between the parish and the school.
Educationally, his more immediate goals include helping to foster “honest and open communication between [himself] and the IHM community,” as well as providing support for a positive learning environment for the “amazing students and teachers” at the school, he said.
On a more spiritual plane, part of Lowry’s grand vision would be “to inspire the students to be their best selves and let them know that God is there for them,” he said.
Before the school year begins, Lowry will get a chance to share his game plan with the IHM parent base. A new parents night” is scheduled for Aug. 29, and a back to school night will fall on Sept. 4.
Beyond that, he said he plans to periodically hold a principal’s coffee where a smaller group of parents would be invited to sit down with him over coffee and doughnuts and open up a dialogue for sharing their ideas for improving the school.