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Lesho named Principal at Madonna

Updated: Wednesday, April 16 2014, 11:26 AM EDT

WEIRTON, W.Va. — A local Catholic educator with a very familiar name is heading back to his alma mater.
James “Jamie” Lesho has been named principal of Madonna High School in Weirton, W.Va., effective July 1. A 1988 graduate of Madonna and long-time teacher and administrator in local Catholic education, Lesho will complete this academic year in his current post as principal of St. Paul School, also in Weirton.
The announcement was made Wednesday by Father Manuel T. Gelido, designated pastor of Madonna High School, at the weekly 10:30 a.m. Mass for students, faculty, parents and representatives of the community at St. Joseph the Worker Church in Weirton.  
Lesho takes over at Madonna after two years of service by Steven Grasser, who also will complete this academic year at Madonna.
“I am so pleased that Jamie Lesho has been named principal at Madonna,” said Most Reverend Michael J. Bransfield, bishop of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston. “He and his family have deep roots in the Weirton community, and as a principal at one of Madonna’s feeder schools, Mr. Lesho will enter his new position with a keen awareness of what will be needed to advance the mission of such a wonderful school.”
Father Larry W. Dorsch, pastor of St. Paul Church in Weirton, said “Jamie Lesho has been a superb blessing for St. Paul School, and our loss is a gain for Madonna and the Catholic school system of Weirton as a whole. He has a wonderful ability to keep focus on curriculum and instruction and not allow crisis situations to rattle him. While we will miss him here I look forward to working with him at the high school.”
Dorsch added that he will immediately begin a search for Lesho’s replacement at St. Paul’s.
In addition to being a Madonna graduate, Lesho is a graduate of St. Paul School and Madonna High School Class of 1988. He attended Marshall University and graduated with a degree in education in 1993. After teaching history at St. Paul School from 1999-2004, Lesho went on to his current position as principal of St. Paul School.
During his decade of service at St. Paul School, Lesho led the school to a fifty percent overall increase in enrollment. Other accomplishments during his tenure include installation of a new playground, expansion of the school nutrition program, and creation of several endowments that provide tuition assistance for families.
When the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston launched its innovative educational technology program in 1999, Lesho was a target teacher and completed numerous programs related to infusing technology into the Catholic school curriculum. In that same role, he also trained fellow faculty members in the use and implementation of cutting-edge educational technologies.
“I look forward to joining the staff at Madonna High School and working with St. Paul, St. Joseph the Worker, Sacred Heart and all of our local parishes and feeder schools so that together we may advance the mission of Madonna,” Lesho said.  
“Even though I am very familiar with many members of the Madonna family, I do look forward to meeting all of the families, students, faculty and staff so that we may continue our school’s strong legacy and commitment to quality Catholic education and service to our community.”
Lesho’s father, John, was a member of the Madonna class of 1959, which was the high school’s first graduating class.  His mother, Marianne “Babe” Lesho has been on the Madonna staff for nearly three decades. In fact, three generations of Lesho family members have walked the halls at Madonna. “My mom, dad and niece are all Madonna graduates,” Lesho said. “We are all proud to be called Blue Dons in our family.”  
Lesho and his family belong to St. Mary’s Byzantine Catholic Church in Weirton, and he is often seen at St. Paul Catholic Church.
He has also coached sports such as football and wrestling while at St. Paul. An avid runner, Lesho participates in many local and regional 5K and distance races.
Madonna High School has been educating young men and women in Weirton since 1955. Madonna is one of the most respected high schools in the tri-state area for what is certainly its most important contribution—the highly motivated, spiritually grounded, goal-oriented young men and women who graduate from the school each year. With an exceptional, faith-based academic program for grades 9-12, Madonna boasts a 21st century learning environment supported by the latest technology and laboratory facilities. Dedicated teachers, staff and administrators serve a gifted student body, preparing them for the next step in their academic and career lives.
Madonna offers a rigorous course curriculum that challenges and motivates students. Every student, from a first day freshman to a last day senior, takes a full schedule of classes each year. All students—no exceptions—take semester and final comprehensive examinations.
“Although leaving St. Paul School is a difficult decision because of the wonderful relationships I have made, I am very excited about this opportunity, and I am grateful,” Lesho said.
Lesho and his wife, Julie, reside in Weirton.  

Lesho named Principal at Madonna

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