For Immediate Release
June 14, 2022

Bishop Burbidge appoints Laura Swenson as new Head of School for St. Paul VI Catholic High School

Arlington, Va. - Following an extensive national search and the recommendation of a search committee, Bishop Michael F. Burbidge has appointed Laura Swenson as the new Head of School for St. Paul VI Catholic High School. Mrs. Swenson will assume the position on July 1, 2022.

"I am confident that Laura Swenson is the ideal person to step into this critical role as Head of School at St. Paul VI,” said Bishop Burbidge. “I believe God will use her gifts and talents to allow St. Paul VI High School to continue to flourish as a premier Catholic high school. St. Paul VI offers exceptional instruction rooted in our Catholic faith and meets the highest standards of excellence, offering a thriving experience that bears fruit in the faith, intellectual and social lives of its students for years afterward. The members of this community, in turn, will be a great blessing to Mrs. Swenson as she embarks on this important work and builds on the school's many successes. I am praying for Mrs. Swenson and her family during this time of transition.” Bishop Burbidge added, "To the members of the search committee, I express my appreciation for your hard work and diligence in helping me identify the most appropriate candidate for this key role." 


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Mrs. Laura Swenson


Mrs. Swenson began her career as an intelligence analyst before moving into the education field 26 years ago. She has served in a variety of roles in Connecticut and Tennessee over the course of her career, including as a teacher, consultant, instructional coach and advisor, and school administrator. Most recently she has served as academic dean, then principal at Notre Dame High School in Chattanooga, Tenn., where she helped guide the school community through the challenges presented by the COVID pandemic.

I am delighted to join the St. Paul VI community and look forward to building upon the school's tradition of excellence to grow its mission as a service-oriented, faith-filled Catholic institution,” Mrs. Swenson said. “I have been warmly welcomed by all, and feel blessed to join the Diocese of Arlington, a dynamic and supportive diocese that is committed to Catholic education.”

"Laura Swenson succeeds Virginia “Ginny” Colwell, who is retiring after 29 years of service at St. Paul VI Catholic High School, including 16 years leading the school. “We are so grateful for Ginny Colwell's years of dedicated commitment and service to St. Paul VI Catholic High School. We pray that she receives many blessings in this next chapter of her life,” said Dr. Vorbach.

For additional information, contact Diana Sims Snider, Deputy Director of Communications, Catholic Diocese of Arlington, at 703-841-2587 or


The Catholic Diocese of Arlington was established on August 13, 1974, and is home to 70 parishes and more than 460,000 Catholics. There are currently 276 priests serving in the Diocese and 49 seminarians discerning a priestly vocation. The Diocese has 37 parish (K-8) schools, one virtual school, four diocesan high schools, five independent Catholic schools and three free-standing (not connected with a parish school) pre-schools, serving more than 16,800 students.

Geographically, the Diocese includes the seven cities of Alexandria, Fairfax, Falls Church, Fredericksburg, Manassas, Manassas Park, and Winchester and the 21 counties of Arlington, Clarke, Culpeper, Fairfax, Fauquier, Frederick, King George, Lancaster, Loudoun, Madison, Northumberland, Orange, Page, Prince William, Rappahannock, Richmond, Shenandoah, Spotsylvania, Stafford, Warren and Westmoreland.