Bishop Carroll Catholic High School Announces New Leadership Team, Collaboration with McCort 


With an emphasis on collaboration and partnership, representatives from Bishop Carroll Catholic High School today announced they have selected their next Head of School and are introducing their new leadership team to the community.

Stephen Cotchen will join the Bishop Carroll team as Head of School beginning July 1, 2020, after serving as Assistant Principal at Bishop McCort Catholic High School. During his tenure there, he has been instrumental in attracting new students to Bishop McCort, managing campus facilities, and working with faculty members on an array of professional development programs and activities. He assumes the role from Lorie Ratchford, who will retire as Bishop Carroll’s long-time principal at the end of this month.  Cotchen will work closely with the Bishop Carroll administrative team to strengthen and enhance the school’s 61-year tradition of academic excellence.  He and Bishop Carroll faculty and staff members will also work with Richard Denhard, the school’s first-ever Career and College Readiness Coordinator (CCRC).  In this new role, Denhard, currently a guidance and career counselor at Bishop McCort, will help take Bishop Carroll’s career readiness efforts to the next level by helping students identify and develop specific career goals, and creating individualized 4-year plans to help each student achieve these goals. In the spirit of collaboration and partnership, Denhard will also provide expanded college and career services to students at Bishop McCort.

“We’re very excited to have Steve and Rich on board,” said Christopher Smith, President of the Bishop Carroll Board of Trustees. “Steve is innovative and a team-builder. He’ll bring some of the latest thinking to our school community, whether we’re adding new courses, preparing our students for in-demand professions or strengthening our partnerships throughout the region.”

Smith expects Cotchen to continue to share ideas and perspectives with his colleagues at Bishop McCort as he takes on his new responsibilities at Bishop Carroll. Denhard’s shared role between the two schools will also present opportunities for the schools to strengthen their growing partnership.

“The ‘graying’ of our region requires schools and other organizations to work together, and develop thoughtful and strategic partnerships,” Smith continued. “We welcome the opportunity to broaden our scope and work with like-minded partners to strengthen the Bishop Carroll experience.”

Tom Smith, (no relation), Principal and Chief Administrative Officer at Bishop McCort Catholic High School, agreed and noted that the schools are already exploring other collaborative possibilities.  “Looking ahead, I envision Bishop McCort and Bishop Carroll collaborating on things like professional development for our teachers and enhanced academic programming for our students,” he said. “Partnerships build success, and we’re excited about working more closely with our colleagues at Bishop Carroll to grow and move our schools forward.”

Cotchen is also looking forward to taking the helm at Bishop Carroll and getting to know the faculty, students and community better.

“I began my career in Ebensburg nearly 20 years ago and have gotten to know several members of the Bishop Carroll team over the years,” he said. “They’re some of the most caring and committed educators I know.  I’m really looking forward to getting started, and working with them to create new and expanded opportunities for our students.”