SJA Welcomes New Vice Principal


With 155 years of offering a premier academic experience under its belt, Saint Joseph Academy is embarking on new ventures that include educational collaborations with higher academic institutions such as the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. Expectations for students at the Catholic school have always been high, and with new challenges and opportunities ahead, it was time to bolster the school’s leadership team. Strengthening the school in the upcoming academic year will be former Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction for Mercedes Independent School District, Dr. Dana Yates. Dr. Yates will assume the role of Vice-Principal at Saint Joseph Academy on July 1.

“Saint Joseph Academy is excited to have Dr. Yates join the administration team as Vice-Principal with the goal of bringing a renewed focus to our academic program and teacher growth. With the upcoming implementation of SJA’s Dual Enrollment Educational Partnership (DEEP) Program and the school’s academic preparations—both for in-person and distance learning—this was the ideal time to add someone with Dr. Yates’ skill set and experience,” says Michael Motyl, Saint Joseph Academy President.

Yates has also served as Director of Curriculum and Instruction for Raymondville Independent School District, Middle School and High School Principal for Lyford Consolidated Independent School District, instructor for the University of Texas at Brownsville and classroom teacher for various Rio Grande Valley school districts. With her prior experience, Yates looks forward to collaborating with Saint Joseph Academy’s faculty to enhance and strengthen all forms of instruction, including distance learning which was the ‘new normal’ in schools during these last few months. “In my 26 years of educational experience, I have seen a shift from the traditional face-to-face classroom experience to a more blended learning experience through the use of online resources. The shift has been slow for various reasons, but with the most recent disruption in the educational setting, schools were forced to assess their capability to offer online learning.” says Yates. “As the district-level administrator charged with designing the distance learning plan, I collaborated with campus and district leaders to assess the district’s capacity to offer online instruction as part of the distance learning plan and look forward to bringing these experiences to my new role.”

With the capacity to strategically analyze, articulate and address the complex issues of continuous school improvements, Yates also believes that effective classroom management plays a large part in student morale. Yates adds, “Students deserve our best every day and this starts with a commitment to providing students with the learning experiences that will help them reach their highest potential.”