December 20, 2017

The Archdiocese of Philadelphia Announces the Appointment of Dr. Andrew McLaughlin as Secretary for Elementary Education


At the conclusion of the 2016-2017 academic year, the Superintendent for Elementary Education in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia departed to pursue other opportunities.

In July the Archdiocese appointed an interim Superintendent for Elementary Education and announced that it would work with its Executive Board of Elementary (EBEE) and the Faith in the Future Foundation (FIF) to review the structure of the Office of Catholic Education (OCE). The intention of that process was to best support elementary, secondary, and special education schools in the Archdiocese. A particular goal was to provide more focus and attention to issues impacting parish and regional Catholic elementary schools.

The first step in achieving that goal was to create a new position of Secretary for Elementary Education. A 13-member committee was formed and charged with conducting a national search to identify the best candidate for the newly created position. The committee consisted of EBEE board members, Archdiocesan administrators from various departments, and principals from Catholic elementary schools in the Archdiocese. Broad input and consultation was also sought from Archdiocesan clergy as well as groups and individuals collaborating with the Archdiocese to support the mission of Catholic education.

Today’s Announcement

The work of the committee recently concluded. Today, the Archdiocese is pleased to announce the appointment of Andrew McLaughlin, Ed.D. as the inaugural Secretary for Elementary Education. Dr. McLaughlin’s appointment is effective February 2018.  Over the next few months, he, along with other senior administrators from OCE, will begin intensive meetings with the EBEE, school administrators, teachers, pastors, and other key stakeholders to establish priorities and benchmarks.

Bishop Michael Fitzgerald, who oversees Catholic Education in the Archdiocese, said, “Today’s announcement marks an important milestone for Catholic schools in the Archdiocese as a critical step has been taken toward the goal of more dedicated support for elementary education. I am grateful to the members of the search committee for their hard work and dedication for the past several months. They identified the best candidate to serve as the Secretary for Elementary Education.

Over the past three years, Dr. McLaughlin has shown a commitment to the holistic formation of our students and to collaboration with his peers. I’m confident that his professional expertise and commitment to our faith will allow us to foster ever greater academic excellence underscored by the Catholic identity that is unique to our schools. Under his guidance, the future of Catholic elementary schools will be a bright one.”

Dr. McLaughlin currently serves as the Director of Special Education in the Archdiocese. He is a highly-respected educator with over three decades of experience as a teacher, principal, and administrator.  A passionate advocate for special education, he joined OCE administrative staff three years ago to develop and manage plans aimed at enhancing special education practices in Catholic elementary and secondary schools. His responsibilities also included supervision of the principals of the four special education schools. A search process will commence in early 2018 to identify his successor as Director of Special Education.

“I am honored and filled with joy to serve the Archdiocese of Philadelphia as Secretary for Elementary Education,” said Dr. McLaughlin.  “Since joining the Office of Catholic Education in 2015 as Director of Special Education, I have had the privilege of visiting many of our schools. I’ve come to know and admire the strong dedication of our principals, faculty, and staff as well as our supporters. In this new role, I look forward to continuing to work collaboratively with staff in the Archdiocesan Pastoral Center, the education leadership team, and the Executive Board of Elementary Education to face 21st century challenges and achieve the shared goals that we all value as Catholic educators.”

Prior to joining the Office of Catholic Education Dr. McLaughlin served as Principal of Pocopson Elementary School in Unionville-Chadds Ford School District (Chester County) from 2004-2015.  During his tenure the school was named a 2011 National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence and 2011 Pennsylvania State Blue Ribbon School of Excellence. During his time as an administrator there, it was also ranked “Number One School” by SchoolDigger

 Dr. McLaughlin is a member of the National Catholic Education Association, the Council for Exceptional Children, and the Association for Elementary and Secondary School Principals. He holds his Doctorate with a Superintendent’s Certificate from Widener University, a Master’s Degree in Education from La Salle University, as well as certifications for Special Education Supervisor and Elementary and Secondary Principal from Pennsylvania State University.

A lifelong Catholic, Dr. McLaughlin is a product of Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. He resides in West Chester, Pennsylvania, and is a member of Saint Maximilian Kolbe Parish.

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Editor’s Note: For more information about the search process for the Secretary for Catholic Education, please visit  For additional information about Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, please visit



Contact: Kenneth A. Gavin
Chief Communications Officer
215-587-3747 (office)