Mahalo to Administrators who are leaving/retiring

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The Hawaii Catholic Schools Office wants to express our well wishes and deep appreciation to those leaving/retiring from their respective schools at the end of the 2016-2017 school year. Mahalo!


Sr. John Joseph Gilligan had only been teaching at St. Theresa School for a year before she became Principal for five years. She was only supposed to be in Hawaii for a short period of time before returning to her community in New York. However, the Lord must’ve had other plans for her, as Sr. John Joseph ended up spending at total of nearly 30 years at St. Theresa School. In addition, Sr. John Joseph also worked at St. Anthony School in Kailua and Holy Trinity School.

Her strong leadership quality could not go unnoticed and she was asked to be a part of several committees including the Diocesan Board of Education, Ad Hoc Committee for educational leadership in Hawaii and a member of the Superintendent’s Consultative Committee, where she helped develop programs on learning styles, thinking skills and the NCEA Program on Vision and Values. She also helped in the formation of local school boards in Hawaii and served as President and initial formation member of the Catholic Schools League on Oahu.




Christina Malins has been a PK-8th Grade teacher in public, private, and Catholic schools from coast to coast and beyond to Hawaii’s shores since 1974.  A military spouse, Chris arrived in Hawaii in 1995 with her husband and four children and settled in as a parishioner at Holy Family Church and as a preschool teacher in Holy Family’s newly opened Early Learning Center. Teaching 4 year olds was not quite her kuleana, and after one year in the ELC she graduated to 1st grade which she taught for 5 years/3 of these she served jointly as a part-time Asst. Principal with Mary Morrow, who also doubled up as teacher/Asst. Principal. In 2004, Malins was named Principal at Holy Family Catholic Academy.

Malins and her husband, Chet, are both retiring and look forward to being grandparents in person to their first grandchild, who resides in San Diego with his Mom and Dad.  Hopefully the future will hold opportunity to pursue lots of travel, deciding initially on where to settle permanently, as well as to enjoy time with family along that journey.






Patricia L. Rickard has been a teacher and administrator at St. Anthony School for over 26 years. Her teaching experience in Hawaii Catholic Schools spans over 45 years and includes St. Anthony, Kailua, on Oahu and St. Joseph School in Hilo, Hawaii.

Patricia was born and raised on Oahu. She graduated from Star of the Sea High School and received her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Hawaii at Manoa with a minor in History. She did post-graduate work at UH Hilo, UH Manoa and Chaminade University.

Patricia says she feels so blessed with the life she leads. She and her husband, Joseph, recently celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. They have three wonderful children and five beautiful grandchildren. She enjoys watching her grandchildren participate in sports and school activities. She truly treasures her family.



Catholic Schools have been a part of Deanna Arecchi’s life since she started Kindergarten at St. Joseph School in Waipahu. She attended St. Francis School for for years, went on to Creighton University to complete her undergraduate degree and received her Master’s from Chaminade University. She has been with St. Michael School for the past 20 years and has served on several committees and as advisor for extracurricular activities including the Student Council, Junior Police Officers, Cheerleading and Speech/Drama.

She and her family are faithful parishioners at St. Michael Church. She and her husband have been married for 22 years and are proud parents of four sons, all attending Catholic Schools.

Arecchi’s favorite bible quote comes from 1 Corinthians 8:6, “In Christ, all things hold together.” Arecchi says she is grateful for the opportunity to teach and serve as Jesus did.




Celina Haigh began working at St. Catherine School in Kapaa, Kauai at the same time her oldest son entered kindergarten in 1995. At that time, she and her youngest son, took over the library and she would substitute for classroom teachers when needed. In early 2000, she assisted Sr. Nitta in the fourth grade with Language Arts Instruction. Then she taught the second grade, which continues to have a special place in her heart. Haigh feels honored to have led St. Catherine School as Principal for the last 10 years.

Haigh said, “I am excited to watch the bright future of St. Catherine School unfold under the leadership of a new principal with the support of Fr. Anthony and the School Advisory Board!”




Betsey Gunderson has had an extensive career in Hawaii Catholic Schools including St. Anthony Jr.-Sr. High School in Wailuku, Maui, Maryknoll School and Sacred Hearts Academy. She has amassed multiple roles including that of teacher, principal, vice principal, director, department chair, division coordinator and most recently, Head of School. In addition to her educational responsibilities, Gunderson also shares her time with the the community and Church. She has served on several boards and committees for groups that include the Augustine Educational Foundation, HCS Superintendent’s Advisory Group, Honolulu Diocesan Board of Education, Honolulu Diocesan Faith Formation, the Western Association of Schools and Colleges and many more.

Although Gunderson is leaving her position at St. Anthony’s, the Hawaii Catholic Schools Office is delighted that she has agreed to serve as interim Associate Superintendent.

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