Diocese of Portland Names New Superintendent of Maine Catholic Schools

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland announces the selection of Shelly Wheeler as the new leader of Maine Catholic Schools effective July 1, 2024. Wheeler has served as principal of St. John’s Catholic School in Brunswick with distinction since 2018. Marianne Pelletier is retiring at the end of the 2023-2024 school year following five years as superintendent and nine years with the diocese.

"As I begin my ministry as the bishop of Portland, I am grateful to welcome the seasoned leadership of Shelly Wheeler as we look to grow our Catholic schools in Maine,” said Bishop James Ruggieri. “I certainly value Shelly’s experience, particularly at Saint John’s School and Saint Dominic Academy, in cultivating environments strong in the Catholic faith and Catholic values while always seeking excellence in academics.”

Throughout Wheeler’s six-year tenure at St. John’s Catholic School, enrollment has more than doubled and school finances have improved from significant debt to good financial standing. Wheeler also led the successful transition to classical Catholic education at St. John’s.

"I am thrilled and humbled to have been selected for this exceptional opportunity as superintendent of Maine Catholic Schools,” said Wheeler. “It is certainly bittersweet to leave the St. John Catholic School community, but I look forward to building upon and applying the learnings from our successes at St. John’s on a broader scale to our wonderful schools across the state.”

Wheeler has more than 20 years of experience in both public and private school systems. Wheeler has been a leader in Maine Catholic Schools spanning grades pre-K through grade 12. She served as the principal of St. Dominic Academy’s Auburn campus from 2016 to 2018 following her tenure as a science and mathematics teacher.

Wheeler’s career includes serving as a mathematics teacher at Oak Hill High School in Wales, Maine and Winslow High School in Winslow, Maine. While in these positions, Wheeler was selected as an AP Statistics reader for the Educational Testing Service. She also served in several leadership roles on various committees for RSU 4 including NEASC Accreditation committees and strategic planning.

Wheeler has considerable training in various research-based curriculum and instructional initiatives including literacy strategies, writing across disciplines, intervention practices, and curriculum development.

Wheeler graduated magna cum laude from the University of Maine at Farmington with a Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education Mathematics and Computer Science. She has a Master of Science in Education degree graduating summa cum laude from the University of New England in Biddeford. Wheeler earned a Certificate in Catholic School Management from the Villanova University School of Business. Wheeler is a member of the Maine Principals Association, the National Association of Elementary School Principals, and the National Catholic Education Association.

As a current parishioner at Prince of Peace Parish in Lewiston, Wheeler was raised in the Catholic faith in Vassalboro. Wheeler’s three children have been attending Catholic schools in Maine since 2011.

Catholic schools in the Diocese of Portland are vibrant learning communities serving nearly 2,300 students in pre-K through 12th grade, at nine elementary/middle schools and two high schools. Catholic schools in the Diocese of Portland inspire students to feel welcomed and cherished for their unique gifts as they become faith-filled Christians, creative and critical thinkers, lifelong learners, and contribute confidently to our Church and communities.

Maine Catholic Schools Superintendent Shelly Wheeler