Bishop Burbidge appoints Laura Swenson as new Head of School for St. Paul VI Catholic High School

ARLINGTON, Va. – Following an extensive national search and the recommendation of a search committee, Bishop Michael F. Burbidge has appointed Laura Swenson as the new Head of School for St. Paul VI Catholic High School. Mrs. Swenson will assume the position on July 1, 2022.
“I am confident that Laura Swenson is the ideal person to step into this critical role as Head of School at Paul VI,” said Bishop Burbidge. “I believe God will use her gifts and talents to allow St. Paul VI Catholic High School to continue to flourish as a premier Catholic high school. Paul VI offers exceptional instruction rooted in our Catholic faith and meets the highest standards of excellence, offering an experience that allows students to thrive spiritually, intellectually and socially. The members of this community, in turn, will be a great blessing to Mrs. Swenson as she embarks on this important work and builds on the school’s many successes. I am praying for Mrs. Swenson and her family during this time of transition.” Bishop Burbidge added, "To the members of the search committee, I express my appreciation for your hard work and diligence in helping me identify the most appropriate candidate for this key role."
Mrs. Swenson began her career as an intelligence analyst before moving into the education field 26 years ago. She has served in a variety of roles in Connecticut and Tennessee over the course of her career, including as a teacher, consultant, instructional coach and advisor, and school administrator. Most recently she has served as academic dean, then principal at Notre Dame High School in Chattanooga, Tenn., where she helped guide the school community through the challenges presented by the COVID pandemic.
“I am delighted to join the Paul VI community and look forward to building upon the school's tradition of excellence to grow its mission as a service-oriented, faith-filled Catholic institution,” Mrs. Swenson said. “I have been warmly welcomed by all, and feel blessed to join the Diocese of Arlington, a dynamic and supportive diocese that is committed to Catholic education.”
“Laura Swenson is grounded in faith and brings creative, collaborative and forward-thinking leadership skills to the Paul VI community,” said Dr. Joseph Vorbach III, Superintendent of Schools. “We’re delighted she will be joining us.”
Mrs. Swenson succeeds Virginia “Ginny” Colwell, who is retiring after 29 years of service at St. Paul VI Catholic High School, including 16 years leading the school. “We are so grateful for Ginny Colwell’s years of dedicated commitment and service to St. Paul VI Catholic High School. We pray that she receives many blessings in this next chapter of her life,” said Dr. Vorbach.
For additional information, contact Diana Sims Snider, Deputy Director of Communications, Catholic Diocese of Arlington, at 703-841-2587 or
St. Paul VI Catholic High School is a private college preparatory school for girls and boys in grades 9-12 in Chantilly, Virginia, seeking to help our students Grow in Grace and Wisdom. Our school is part of the Diocese of Arlington and offers rigorous academics, an inclusive community focused on spiritual and leadership formation, and a proud athletic tradition featuring nationally renowned programs competing in the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference and the Virginia Independent Schools Athletic Association.