SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The schools of the Springfield Roman Catholic Diocese have a new Superintendent. 

Bishop William Byrne this morning introduced Maria Wagner to students at Springfield’s St. Michael’s Academy. The new superintendent is of Cuban heritage and spent much of her life in Puerto Rico.

“68% of the children in the public school system here in Springfield are from Spanish speaking house holds, And many of these students are from traditional Catholic families,” Springfield Roman Catholic Diocese Bishop William Byrne told 22News.

“I want to be able to meet the mission of catholic schools and help support them,” said Maria Wagner, Newly Appointed Superintendent of Schools for the Springfield Roman Catholic Diocese.

Superintendent Wagner had served for nearly a decade as principal of the Bernadette school in Hollywood , Florida

Wagner has a bachelor of science in mechanical engineering from the University of Notre Dame and a master’s degree in educational technology leadership from George Washington University. She began her teaching career in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia where she taught sixth grade. She has taught in Virginia and Florida as well as online for Florida Virtual School as a tutor.

Prior to teaching, Wagner worked for Pratt & Whitney as an engineer and TRW. She has three children and is fluent in Spanish.

There are 3,168 students currently enrolled in the Diocese of Springfield catholic schools. Three early childhood centers have 113 enrolled, 2,535 students in 12 of the elementary schools, and 520 in two of the secondary schools, according to a list of enrollment numbers sent to 22News from the Diocese of Springfield.

“I am very grateful that Ms. Wagner has accepted this new role as superintendent of Catholic schools for the Diocese of Springfield,” said Bishop Byrne. “Her credentials, work experience and Catholic faith will no doubt continue our mission of providing a quality, faith-based education.”

“After reflecting on my years as a student, engineer, mother, teacher and administrator, I found that I am led by my strong faith to go where I am most needed and that has been the Catholic School System,” Wagner said. “I continue to pray that God will help me listen, connect and learn from the pastors, principals, and school leaders of the Catholic Schools in the Diocese of Springfield to support and serve them in continuing the mission of Catholic education.”