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North Catholic Principal's Resignation A Shock To Diocese Officials

CRANBERRY TOWNSHIP (KDKA) -- The principal at Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic High School has resigned after just a year and a half on the job, and Diocese officials say they're surprised by the move.

"We accepted with regret."

That was the Pittsburgh Catholic Diocese spokesperson's response to the resignation of a newly-appointed principal.

Seventeen months into her job as principal of Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic High School, and just seven weeks into the student's first year in the new school, Principal Kellie Abbott resigned.

Fr. Ron Lengwin spoke to KDKA's Brenda Waters about Abbott.

"She submitted a letter to us saying she was resigning for personal reasons and didn't say why," he said.

Back on the first day of school, as Bishop David Zubik greeted students as they entered the new facility in Cranberry Township, the 41-year-old Abbott said, "The opportunity to start a school from scratch happens once in a lifetime, if it happens."

"She had done a lot of good things at the school and I don't know it personally, only heard it in the media that she said she was going to pursue a doctorate," said Fr. Lengwin.

Fr. Lengwin was asked if the Diocese was aware that Abbott was principal and/or co-principal at various schools in several districts, including Pittsburgh and New Kensington-Arnold, and that there had been reported controversies in those positions, such as disciplinary issues.

"We weren't aware of those," said Fr. Lengwin. "Typically, when someone is looking for a new position and you go back they will only confirm the person was there for a particular number of years, they are not going to reveal if there were any difficulties while they were there."

Students and their parents were made aware of Abbott's resignation earlier this week via the mail. While the Diocese searches for Abbott's replacement, an interim principal is in place.

Fr. Lengwin says they hope to fill the position by the end of the year.

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