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Norfolk Catholic names new president


Don Ridder

A 32-year veteran of education who was the archdiocese’s 2009 administrator of the year has been named president of Norfolk Catholic School.

Don Ridder, principal of Holy Name School in Omaha since 2015, assumed his new post July 1 at the school system, which is affiliated with Sacred Heart Parish in Norfolk and serves students from prekindergarten through high school.

"It feels good to move to the next level, from the day-to-day, hour-to-hour detail of being a principal to overseeing the overall progress of a school," Ridder said. "I welcome the opportunity to help everyone involved in the school system reach their potential and to continue to spread the word of God."

Ridder helped establish St. Patrick School in Elkhorn in 2000, which, under his leadership as principal, was named a National Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education in 2013 for its high academic achievement. He also served as principal of Mary Our Queen School in Omaha.

Growing up near West Point, Ridder graduated from now-Guardian Angels Central Catholic High School. He taught at then-Valley (Public) High School in Valley and was principal at public high schools in Benedict and Crete in Nebraska.

Father Daniel Andrews, pastor of Sacred Heart Parish in Norfolk, most recently filled the role of president at Norfolk Catholic, handling its business and development. Jeff Bellar is principal of the junior/senior high school and Bill Lafleur is principal of the elementary school.

Ridder holds a doctorate in education in interdisciplinary leadership from Creighton University, a master’s degree in educational administration and supervision from the University of Nebraska at Omaha, and a superintendent’s certification in educational leadership from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

"We are elated to have someone as accomplished as Dr. Ridder to lead our school team," Father Andrews said.

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