Holy Cross School in South Portland Announces New Leadership Team

Holy Cross School is proud to announce its new leadership team for the 2024-2025 academic year, with beloved and esteemed educators from the Holy Cross family assuming new positions. William Ridge, the current assistant school principal, will be the new principal, and third grade teacher Shelley Assia will be the new assistant principal. Both new roles will start July 1, 2024. Tim Stebbins, current Holy Cross principal, is retiring at the end of the 2023-2024 school year.  

 "I am excited to have Bill Ridge as principal of Holy Cross School. He has been a pillar of the Holy Cross School community and the larger parish community over the years,” Fr. Jack Dickinson, pastor of St. Paul II Parish said. “It is also my joy to have Shelley Assia join the leadership team in fostering our excellence in education. Together we have a chance to expand Holy Cross School's ability to shine the light and joy of Jesus Christ in our parish and community.”  

Ridge has been part of the Holy Cross School community for more than three decades. He is the current assistant school principal and was awarded the 2023 Maine Catholic Teacher of the Year Award. In addition to teaching, he has served as Holy Cross School’s athletic director, technology director, a coach, a school board member, and has mentored students through altar serving. Ridge knows what it means to be a parent of a student as his own children attended Holy Cross School.  

The Cheverus High School graduate was also on the adjunct faculty at St. Joseph’s College in Standish teaching criminology, juvenile justice and criminal law. Ridge served as the deputy chief of police for the Portland Police Department from 1998 through 2008 and was previously a criminal investigator in child abuse investigations. He was also an instructor at the Maine Criminal Justice Academy focusing on crimes against children.  

Ridge graduated from the University of Southern Maine with a Bachelor of Arts in political science. He has Master of Arts degrees in public policy, management and education from the Muskie School of Public Affairs and St. Joseph’s College of Maine.  

“I am both humbled and excited by the faith shown by Fr. Jack Dickinson and the selection committee,” said Ridge. “This is the culmination of a 30-year history with the school as a parent and teacher. While I will miss being in the classroom with students, I look forward to working with the entire school community to ensure that Holy Cross School is true to its mission and serves the students and families of Holy Cross. Our school is proud to provide a great education based on Catholic beliefs and values. Our students are the future of our Church and communities.” 

Assia has been a third-grade teacher at Holy Cross School since 2022. Her role as assistant principal will have a concentration in curriculum, and she will continue to teach. Her creativity launched a pen pal program with students and the Maine Veterans’ Home, initiated a family math night, and facilitated an aligned curriculum schoolwide while reinforcing skills across grade levels.  

Assia graduated cum lade from Saint Michael’s College in Vermont with a Bachelor of Arts in psychology and a minor in child development. She also graduated cum lade from Suffolk University Law School in Massachusetts with a Juris Doctor degree. She is a retired member of the Massachusetts State Bar.  

“As a parishioner of Saint John Paul II Parish, I am incredibly grateful to continue serving our community and upholding the mission of Holy Cross School. I am blessed to be a part of a community where our parish, families, faculty, staff, and students join in mutual support,” said Assia. “I look forward to cultivating positive relationships that nurture the spiritual, academic, and social growth of everyone. My experience as a third-grade teacher at Holy Cross has strengthened my love for our school. I embrace the additional role of assistant principal with faith and commitment to excellence.” 

Holy Cross School was recently named the by the Best of the 207 Awards as Gold in Best Private School. The honor recognizes the school's dedication to providing an exceptional educational environment. 

For more than 85 years, Holy Cross School has stood as a beacon of educational excellence and Catholic faith in South Portland. The school welcomes families to an energized learning environment that upholds community values and academic achievement. It serves students from pre-Kindergarten to 8th grade. With a focus on small class sizes, Holy Cross School emphasizes personalized education, ensuring that each student receives attention tailored to their individual strengths and needs. 

Bill Ridge, principal
New Holy Cross School Assistant Principal