The seeds of St. Gabriel School's vibrant future were sown back in 1963 when the Sisters of Holy Humility of Mary opened our school in Concord, Ohio, as a daughter school to St. Mary's School in Painesville. Initially under the educational guidance of Sister Benedicta and the pastoral direction of Father Bernard Brady, St. Gabriel School offered grades one through four and planned to add one grade each year until the eighth grade was completed.
In 1967, the Dominican Sisters assumed leadership of the school and served the educational needs of the children until 1971 when the good Sisters of Notre Dame began their long and dedicated service at the school. Sister Mary Lisa Novak was appointed principal.
While St. Gabriel School was initially founded to provide a strong academic curriculum rooted in Catholic principles, it quickly became apparent that the school would need to adapt to changing times and provide additional programs, facilities, and opportunities for our children's spiritual, and academic, and social growth. In the ensuing years, the school joined the Catholic Youth Organization sports program, officially formed an active Parent Teacher Union, began to integrate technology in the classroom, introduced a hot lunch program, and began to analyze space requirements.
With the growing population in Concord and surrounding areas came an increase in the school's enrollment. To meet the increased need for space, Father Robert Pahler, who had assumed the role of parish pastor in 1977, worked with the parish's finance council and school administration to embark on an expansion project in 1980 which added 16 classrooms thus enabling the school to accommodate two classrooms each in grades one through eight.
In 1986, the former church was converted from what is now known as the Pahler Center or school gym to its present home and a new space was carved for our children to hold gym classes, sports practices, stage presentations and school assemblies. The following year, Sister Josephmarie, from the Sisters of Notre Dame, began her service as principal of the school, steering the course of the school through many more changes and continuous improvement over the next 19 years. Again responding to the need for increased enrollment, St. Gabriel School added its current kindergarten program in 1991 which today has grown to accommodate both full- and half-day programs. Also in 1991, the parish welcomed its next pastor, Father Fred Pausche, who continues to lead and champion the cause of Catholic education today.
A new leader
At the start of the new millennium, St. Gabriel School embarked on a bold expansion and renovation project which again expanded classrooms and laboratories and the school was officially renamed the St. Gabriel Center for Catholic Education. In 2006, Donna Lee Saladino was chosen to be principal of St. Gabriel School and we were again poised for dramatic growth. This time, the changes were internal. Curricula, test scores, and instruction processes have been analyzed and improved across the board. Technology has been integrated at every level. Honors classes, extracurricular opportunities, and service projects have all been added to the educational experience. In the past three years, with funds raised from a new school Walkathon event, a new playground was built, the gym was renovated, a mobile laptop was added and sound amplification systems were purchased for grades kindergarten through fourth grade.
Poised for the future
St. Gabriel School continues on a future-focused path while still grounded in its founding vision of a strong academic education rooted in Catholic principles. We serve the educational and spiritual needs of families in St. Gabriel Parish and neighboring faith communities including St. Mary Painesville, St. Mary of the Assumption Mentor, St. Mary Chardon, St. William, St. Anthony of Padua, St. Cyprian, Immaculate Conception, St. John Vianney, St. Bede the Venerable, St. Patrick, St. Noel, Mentor United Methodist and Christian L.I.F.E. Our students come to us from several school districts representing a total of nine different zip codes. We welcome students of all races and ethnic origins, as well as, religious backgrounds. The school adheres to State Standards as well as the Cleveland Catholic Diocese Graded Course of Study. We offer an excellent, Christ-centered education in grades kindergarten through eighth grade. We have grown from our humble, four-classroom roots in 1963 to a vibrant center of excellence in youth education and faith formation.
Celebrating 50 Years of Growing in Wisdom, Grace, and Knowledge
In 2016, the whole St. Gabriel Community celebrated our 50th Jubilee! The theme was Rediscover, Renew, Re-Evangelize, and the logo was created by alumni, Maddie Lough. We took the time to look back and thank those who founded the school with great sacrifice. We now enjoy the fruits of their labor and thank them. We carry the torch on with the desire to grow closer to God, to keep growing in wisdom, grace, and knowledge, and remain a leader in Catholic education.
Full Steam Ahead!
In 2017, St. Gabriel School made great progress in the areas of STEAM education by obtaining a State of Ohio Department of Education STEM School Designation. One of two Catholic schools to earn this honor as of 2017. The enrollment for the 2018-19 school year in grades JRK through GR 8 is 571.
In the 2018-19 school year, Mrs. Ann Ulrich, Principal, and Mr. Robert Kumazec, Assistant Principal, took the reigns of leadership. They introduced many new initiatives to SGS including, but not limited to The Leader in Me, Seven Habits of Healthy and Happy Kids by Steven Covey.
Answering the Demands of a Global Pandemic
At the end of 2019-20 and the beginning of 2020-21 school years, St. Gabriel School was challenged like the rest of the world to meet the demands of COVID -19. With God's strength and guidance, St. Gabriel School pivoted to meet the safety protocols needed to navigate the pandemic. Many technological advancements took place very quickly to answer distance learning demands as well as building improvements. An administrative restructure was put in place which named Robert Kumazec Principal of Grades 5-8 and Ann Ulrich Principal of JK-4.
Managing the Second Half of the Pandemic
The 2021-22 School year was a wonderful new beginning that ushered out the threat of the pandemic and welcomed a new vibrancy at the school to re-institute loved traditions as well as introduce new and innovative ideas. Robert Kumazec was named Principal of all grades JK-8 and Leah Myers was hired as the Assistant Principal. Miss Myers was no stranger to St. Gabriel as she was a Grizzly alum herself, and served as Kindergarten teacher for six years prior to being named Assistant Principal.
St. Gabriel Catholic Church
9935 Johnnycake Ridge Road
Concord Township, OH 44060
School Phone: 440-352-6169
Week Day After School Hours: 440-354-7843 (until 6 pm)
Learning Loft PS Phone: 440-354-7574
St. Gabriel School admits students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national and ethnic origin in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic and other school-administered programs.
The enrollment for the 2023-24 year in grades JK-8th is 560.
All employees and volunteers who have contact with students undergo thorough screening, including background checks through the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation & Identification (BCI&I). For complete information on screening policies, see the revised Policy for the Safety of Children in Matter of Sexual Abuse, section 1.2 (p.3).