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Longtime educator Erica Hartnett has been appointed as the new principal of St. Frances de Sales School in Riverside.

Hartnett taught junior high and high school in Los Angeles Unified School District for 10 years before spending the next 11 years in Catholic education, first teaching junior high at Holy Family School, Wilmington, and then teaching junior high and serving as Vice Principal at St. Philomena School, Carson, both of which were Carmelite schools in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.

“I believe my own education at a Catholic school, being taught by Carmelite Sisters of the Most Sacred Heart, is where my preparation began that led me to the role as principal at St. Francis de Sales. I know being in education for over 20 years and my own education has prepared me for the role as principal,” said Hartnett, who attended Holy Family as a student.

“I am excited in continuing to strengthen the faith formation of all of those I encounter, including school personnel, parents and students. I look forward to sharing the charism of the Carmelite Sisters and leading by example by my words and actions, as a true follower and believer of Jesus Christ,” Hartnett added.

Having taught at both public and Catholic schools, Hartnett believes that Catholic schools are unique and important because they are called to carry out the mission that Jesus began over 2000 years ago. “We are called to serve and be witnesses to the word of God and create a strong Catholic identity within students so that when they grow up, they will continue evangelizing through their own words and actions to help those in need,” Hartnett said.

“It is our duty to form individuals that will contribute to society by helping the marginalized and outcasted groups just as Jesus Christ did, in loving and helping all those he encountered. It is important to teach that we all possess human dignity because we were created in the image and likeness of God,” she added.