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Be the Change New Principal Frank Espinosa is facing challenges head on and leading The Mount into the future.

Life these days seems to be in a constant state of change. With nationwide health and safety regulations ebbing and flowing as officials attempt to get a handle on the COVID-19 pandemic, no one can predict what next week will look like, let alone the rest of the year. Big changes are happening at Mount Saint Joseph, too. We’re preparing for a school year unlike any other in The Mount’s 144-year history. Our “campus” has expanded all over the state as students log on for distance learning, and new protocols are in place to keep students safe when they are able to attend in-person classes. One of the most significant changes in our school community, however, has been the welcoming of a new principal.

Frank Espinosa comes to The Mount from Saint Xavier High School, a Xaverian Brothers Sponsored School for young men in Louisville, Kentucky, where he served 20 years in a variety of roles, including his most recent eight-year stint as principal. As a member of Mount Saint Joseph’s Board of Directors for the past six years, Frank was part of the initial conversations surrounding The Mount’s principal search. At first, the thought of packing up his career and moving it to Baltimore hadn’t crossed his mind. But, the more the Board discussed the position, the more Frank saw a correlation between what the school was searching for and what he could offer.

Family is extremely important to Frank. He and his wife, Penny, have three children.

“I’m an educator who likes to be stretched; I’ve held many positions within the same school,” Frank explains. “I like challenge, and I felt like this was an opportunity to really challenge myself professionally. I have taught children for 28 years to take chances, to push themselves, and this was time for me to do the same. I liked what I saw here at The Mount, and I felt like I could really make a big contribution.”

I like challenge, and I felt like this was an opportunity to really challenge myself professionally. I have taught children for 28 years to take chances, to push themselves, and this was time for me to do the same.

Moving to a new state and a new school is one thing, but Frank couldn’t have anticipated the challenges that would come as the COVID-19 pandemic swept through the nation, completely redefining everyday life and education. He stepped boldly into his leadership position this July, prepared and determined to tackle every trial ahead.

“The challenge with this is that it’s ever-changing,” Frank says. “We have to be willing to be uncomfortable not knowing some of the specifics but be mindful of our responsibility to make a safe environment where we’re able to mitigate as much as we can without lessening our approach for the educational product that we’re required to offer. It will be a challenge, but I have 100% confidence that we will get it right; we have a lot of good people working with me on this. Everyone will be better because we’ve had an opportunity to go through these challenges.”

Despite all the unknowns of this year, there are a few things that have not changed for Frank—like his mission and the values that drive it. Frank’s first experience teaching was as a child growing up with his four siblings; in his house, they taught, tutored, coached, and took care of one another. Teaching came naturally to Frank, but it wasn’t really a part of his plan until college. An aspiring civil engineer, he wasn’t so sure what to expect when a few of his teammates on the football team talked him into enrolling in a teaching course. “I started doing some fieldwork in the schools, and it was there that I fell in love with being around the kids, working with them. It captured me,” he recalls.

Frank’s passion for working with students has only grown over the years, and his commitment to supporting their development is what drives every decision he makes as an educator. “Teachers need to love kids and want to be around them,” he says. “If our guiding principle is to do what’s best for the student, we will always make good decisions on behalf of the student and on behalf of the institution. I think every school has a responsibility to make sure that every day they have teachers—adults—in the lives of these young people who make them feel real and important. We as academic institutions have to create environments that are safe but also allow these students to find themselves and to be the change they really want to see in the world.”

If our guiding principle is to do what’s best for the student, we will always make good decisions on behalf of the student and on behalf of the institution.

One way Frank wants to help students achieve that is by offering 21st-century programming and classroom spaces conducive to hands-on, collaborative learning. From innovation labs and maker spaces to increased access to professional shadow day opportunities and a stronger emphasis on science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics (STEAM) cross-curricular programs, Frank has a vision for carrying on The Mount’s tradition of academic excellence in a way that will keep students engaged and prepare them for modern jobs and life beyond high school.

They say, “What doesn’t challenge you, won’t change you.” Well, it is safe to say Mount Saint Joseph has a lot of change coming, but the good kind of change, the kind that feels like progress. And, we are grateful to have Frank Espinosa leading the charge.