Assistant Principal’s Page

Denny Rapal

Hello Our Lady of Refuge families, it is with both excitement and enthusiasm that I join the parish and school community as the new Assistant Principal this year!  I have spent the majority of my life in the West Bloomfield area, where I personally learned about the outstanding reputation of Our Lady of Refuge as a fantastic place to worship and learn in a family atmosphere.  Being a parishioner as I was growing up, I can’t wait to once again be a part of all the wonderful things happening here. As Mr. Pyles assumes additional duties with Orchard Lake St. Mary’s, I look forward to continuing the high expectations he established for the building and know that with such fantastic students, staff, and families, the transition will be both smooth and seamless.

For those of you who may not know me, let me share a few quick things about myself.  Prior to being the Assistant Principal at Abbott Middle School and then the Principal of Roosevelt Elementary, I attended West Bloomfield Schools (graduating from the high school in 1989) before receiving my teaching certificate from Michigan State University in 1993.  The next 20 years were spent teaching in West Bloomfield; a decade at Ealy in the 4th & 5th grades and continuing on to Roosevelt for 3 more years in 5th grade, before spending the final 7 years in the Magnet Program.  Within that time period, I had also served as the Elementary Lead Mentor Teacher, where I assisted new staff in acclimating to the district and as Union Vice President, where I gained a deeper understanding for the political landscape of education.  Of the many committees on which I have served throughout my time in West Bloomfield, the one common theme has always been the intent on helping all students succeed. I intend to bring that same commitment to Our Lady of Refuge and help continue the work in facilitating every student’s growth both academically and spiritually this coming year.

Alongside teaching, I also spent many years following another passion of mine; coaching wrestling.  While working with the older athletes in a sport I love, I was able to hone my skills of being a tough, yet fair and supportive leader, all the while motivating each of them to reach their full potential both on and off the wrestling mat.  I strongly believe these lessons will surely help me as I work with Mr. Pyles to lead a school full of such amazing staff and students.

On a personal note, I was somehow able to find the time along the way to meet and marry an amazing woman, Michele.  Twelve years ago, we were blessed with our fantastic son, Tanner. We value our time as a family; savoring every opportunity to have fun and create lasting memories together. In short, I have been blessed all throughout my life and consider my newest position at Our Lady of Refuge as yet another highlight.

I look forward to meeting both you and your child, or children as the case may be, in the upcoming weeks.  Whether you are a returning parent or new family to Our Lady of Refuge, I can promise you that this year will be one of wonder, excitement, and discovery for everyone involved.  Please stop in and say hello if you are in the building before the start of school and enjoy the remaining time of your summer.

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