Pope Francis High School is blessed by the inspired leadership and stewardship of the group of people who make up our Board of Directors. Working together, they strive to put the faculty, staff, and students of PFHS in the best possible position to succeed.
Michael J. Ashe, Jr. (Vice Chairperson)
Michael J. Ashe, Jr. is the retired Sheriff of Hampden County. A native of Springfield, and 1957 graduate of Cathedral High School, Ashe holds a bachelor’s degree from St. Anslem’s College and a master’s degree in social work from Boston College. He was elected sheriff of Hampden County in 1974 and was re-elected every six years without opposition until his retirement last fall.
Fr. Joseph Benicewicz OFM Conv.
Fr. Joseph Benicewicz is pastor of St. Stanislaus Basilica. A native of Baltimore, Md., he joined the Franciscan Friars in 1978 and made his first profession of vows in 1979. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy in 1983 from St. Hyacinth College-Seminary in Granby, Mass., and a Master of Divinity from St. Anthony-on-Hudson Seminary in Rensselaer, N.Y., in 1988. He was ordained a priest in May 1988. He spent many years in education as both a classroom teacher and administrator.
Mary Ann Butler
Mary Ann Butler is a 1978 graduate of Cathedral High School who currently serves as the school and district partnership specialist for the Connecticut Council for Education Reform. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in biology from Saint Mary’s College, a Juris Doctor degree from Western New England University, and a Sixth Year degree in educational leadership from Central Connecticut State University.
Azell Murphy Cavaan
Azell Murphy Cavaan is an award-winning journalist who graduated from Cathedral in 1988 and earned her master’s degree from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University in Chicago. Her wide-ranging experience in the media industry includes staff writing positions for The Springfield Republican, the Boston Herald, the Boston South End News, the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin and London’s Legalease publications. She has previously served as the communications director for the city of Springfield and currently serves as the chief communications officer for Springfield Public Schools.
Michele D’Amour, M.Ed. (Chairperson)
Michele D’Amour, M.Ed., is the educational partnership administrator for Big Y Foods, Inc. A 1969 graduate of Cathedral, she attended Westfield State College and holds a master’s degree in education from American International College. She has had a variety of teaching experiences and has worked at the college level supervising student teachers. She has served on many boards and committees over the years and has a long record of philanthropy, primarily focused on education and the arts. In addition to her role as chairperson of the PFHS Board of Directors, D’Amour has served as a corporator and collections committee member of the Springfield Museums, is the chairperson of the Parents Television Council, and sits on the board of Assumption College. She has received much recognition for her philanthropic work, including an honorary doctorate of human letters from Assumption College and NCEA Elizabeth Seton Award.
Thomas Day is a 1989 graduate of Cathedral High School and a partner at the Springfield-based law firm, Egan, Flanagan & Cohen, P.C., where he serves as a member of the firm’s Executive Committee. Tom is a 1993 graduate of Connecticut College and a 2002 graduate of Notre Dame Law School, where he met his wife, Kate. The couple and their four sons currently reside in West Springfield, where he serves as chairman of the town’s Planning and Construction Committee. Tom coaches youth soccer for the West Springfield Park and Recreation Department and basketball for the CYO program at St. Thomas the Apostle. He is an active member of the Rotary Club of West Springfield and the Knights of Columbus, Unity Council, also based in West Springfield.
Patrick J. Garrity
Patrick Garrity is a 1981 graduate of Cathedral High School currently serving as civil engineer for the city of Springfield. A lifelong resident of Springfield, Garrity received his Bachelor of Science in business management from Westfield State College. He is a former member of the East Forest Park Civic Association, former chair of the Holy Cross School Board (Springfield, Mass.), former board member and chair of the Cathedral High School Board of Trustees, former member of the Pope Francis High School Transitional Advisory Committee, and is currently treasurer of the Holy Cross Athletic Association and member of the Atwater Civic Association.
David W. Griffin, Sr., CIC, LIA (Treasurer)
David W. Griffin, Sr., CIC, LIA, is principal and senior vice president and treasurer of the Dowd Insurance Agencies, LLC. A graduate of Holyoke Catholic High School and Fairfield University, Griffin has more than 30 years of experience in the insurance industry. He is a past president of the Springfield Country Club, has served on the West Springfield Chamber of Commerce (president), the Holyoke Parade Committee, Hampden County Insurance Agents Association, and West Springfield Rotary. He is a past chairman of Mont Marie Health Care Center and presently is CEO of the Catholic Youth Organization (CYO) Basketball of Western Mass.
Sr. Patricia Hottin, SSJ
Sr. Patricia Hottin, SSJ, is principal of St. Thomas the Apostle School in West Springfield. She has been a Sister of St. Joseph for 49 years and attended a Catholic elementary, high school and college. She received her Bachelor of Arts from the College of Our Lady of Elms and a master’s degree in education from Wheelock College in Boston. Hottin has been an educator for over 40 years and has worked with children and young adults from preschool through college.
Lawrence Kulig is a 1977 graduate of Cathedral High School. Kulig is a litigation partner in the Boston office of Eckert Seamans. He serves on the local board of Generation Citizen, a national civics oriented non-profit focused on inner-city schools. He has also served on the Board of the Archidiocese of Boston’s Planning Office, a developer and advocate of affordable housing, as well as the Bishop’s advisory council overseeing church consolidation in the Diocese of Worcester. He is an honors graduate of both Lafayette College and the Villanova University School of Law. At Cathedral, he was a western Massachusetts track and cross-country champion. He is a recipient of the St. Joseph’s medal.
Charles E. Moran
Charles Moran is Senior Vice President, Public Affairs and Communications for TransCanada Corporation – one of the largest energy and pipeline companies in North America. A 1987 graduate of Holyoke Catholic High School, he later received his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Merrimack College in 1991 and a Master’s in Public Administration from the American International College in 1998. Chuck and his wife, Laurie, live in West Springfield. They have two children – Emma, a sophomore at the College of Charleston (SC) and Chase, a junior at Suffield Academy (CT). They are parishoners at St. Thomas the Apostle Church in West Springfield. Chuck volunteers his time for a number of charitable organizations and serves on the Interstate Natural Gas Association’s (INGAA) Communications Committee and is a member of the Society of Gas Lighting.
Joseph L. Peters (Clerk)
Joseph L. Peters is a 1968 graduate of Cathedral High School. He received his Associate in Engineering degree from Holyoke Community College and is the CEO of Universal Plastics Corp in Holyoke. Peters is past chairman of the board, National Society of Plastics Engineers, Thermoforming Division; past chairman of the Regional Employment Board in Springfield, and is a member of the board for Holyoke Medical Center, chairman of the board at Career Point, Holyoke, and a diocesan school board member for the Diocese of Springfield. He is an ordained Catholic deacon in the Diocese of Springfield.
Dan Rodriguez is originally from Westfield and has been a resident of Springfield for the past 29 years. He and his wife, Josephine, have four children, all of whom are products of Catholic education. Dan is a graduate of St. Mary’s in Westfield and received a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute and his Masters in Engineering Management from Western New England University. Over the years, Dan has been very committed to Catholic education, serving in many capacities throughout his children’s education ranging from PTO to coaching to serving on various sub-committees. He is an active member of Holy Cross parish in Springfield as well as the Cursillo movement of Western Mass.