The new principal of all-girls’ Holy Family High School College Preparatory in Glendale is passionate about Catholic education, and she has logged years of “frequent freeway” miles to prove it.In fact, one of the first things Simi Valley resident Nancy O’Sullivan — formerly vice principal at Santa Clara High School in Oxnard — did after getting the job as Holy Family principal this summer was to create a car bumper sticker to help raise the parish school’s profile during “drive time.”“I would love to see our Holy Family Catholic Community bumper sticker running around Glendale,” said O’Sullivan, who has already driven to most of the area’s Catholic elementary schools to promote the high school founded in 1937 by the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Among 50 archdiocesan, private and parish high schools in the archdiocese, Holy Family is among just five which are parish-administered, a list that also includes St. Genevieve (Panorama City), San Gabriel Mission (San Gabriel), St. Monica (Santa Monica) and Mary Star of the Sea (San Pedro).“Having been a faculty member at Notre Dame Academy, an all-girls’ private school on the West Side, I really believe in all-girls’ schools,” said O’Sullivan, who noted that studies show students in all-girls’ schools are academically confident and excel in math and science. “I’ve seen young women go from 9th grade to 12th grade and how impressive it is when they go off to their colleges and start their careers.” She sees Holy Family as being similar to Notre Dame Academy, founded by the Sisters of Notre Dame, since both have “very high academics and a great curriculum,” according to O’Sullivan.“To be able to step into these doors at Holy Family, it’s a privilege. I’m very excited,” she exclaimed. A gardening enthusiast, she has already planted colorful flowers at the front entrance doors, which open to reveal new yellow-painted interior hallways and offices, including a remodeled and enlarged admissions office.Besides sprucing up the school with paint, the new principal rearranged classrooms and came up with some free space. “I found this one area [on the upper floor] that was calling to me,” said O’Sullivan. “I thought, the girls need a sacred space, a place where they could pray maybe on a break or at lunch. Maybe they’re having a bad day or maybe they’re having a good day and they just want to praise and have a space to do that in. So we created a small chapel.”On Sept. 14, after attending weekly Wednesday 8 a.m. morning Mass at nearby Holy Family Church, the entire student body escorted Father Jim Bevacqua, pastor, as he carried the Blessed Sacrament down Lomita Avenue toward the high school for the dedication of the new chapel.“When we did that procession, I have to say it was one of the most incredible things I’ve ever experienced,” said O’Sullivan. “It’s historic because we’ve never had the Blessed Sacrament here in the school.”Cultivating the students’ spirituality is important to O’Sullivan, a lay associate of the Sisters of Notre Dame, who hopes to educate the students about the charism of the Sisters of Charity. Nine BVMs, five of whom are Holy Family alumnae, live in a convent very near the school. One of O’Sullivan’s goals is to strengthen the relationship between the BVMs and the students.Another goal, says O’Sullivan, is to continue the strength of the curriculum and to enhance it. This year, the school will embark on a pilot program providing an iPAD tablet computer to each member of the senior class. Seniors will have the option to purchase the iPAD on an installment plan. Next year, an iPAD will be provided to all of the students. In another nod to technology, juniors and seniors will take an online course through Glendale Community College during the second semester.O’Sullivan also intends to expand the Science and Health Academy program conducted in partnership with nearby Glendale Memorial Hospital. The school has a grant pending with hospital personnel to help students be healthier.“We want to bring in guest speakers on diet and nutrition and make it a community effort” where events would be open to the public, said O’Sullivan, who feels outreach is essential to boosting enrollment, which currently is at 208 students.“Back in the day, students just came to the schools because they were Catholic,” said O’Sullivan, an alumna of Bishop Amat High School. “In this day and age, they don’t come like that anymore. You have to tell students about your school and get them on campus to see what we do different.”She thinks the school’s enrollment will grow “because we have a great school. We have phenomenal teachers and some great programs that we’re introducing.” Besides the iPAD pilot program, she plans to continue the “Classroom Around the World” program taking a group of students to Spain over Easter break.“When I was a senior in high school, I went to China and Hong Kong, and it was a life-changing event,” said O’Sullivan. A self-described “social person” who has a “tea corner” in her office decorated with a Celtic Cross and photos she has taken from her overseas and U.S. travels, O’Sullivan looks forward to meeting the school families and prospective students.“People are welcome anytime to visit our school for a tour and see what we have to offer,” she said.{gallery width=100 height=100}gallery/2011/1007/sfholyfamily/{/gallery}