Chapelle High School names new principal, who has been serving as interim principal _lowres

Leila Benoit

Archbishop Chapelle High School will have a new permanent principal for the 2016-17 academic year, though her face will be familiar to the faculty and students.

Leila Benoit, 34, has been named the principal for the 700-student, all-girls Catholic high school in Metairie after serving an interim stint in that position, the Archdiocese of New Orleans said.

Chapelle offers grades eight through 12.

Benoit will succeed John Serio, 69, who was named Chapelle’s principal prior to the 2013-14 school year. Archdiocese schools Superintendent Jan Lancaster informed students’ parents in late February that Serio would not be returning in the fall.

In a follow-up letter a week later, Lancaster said Serio’s departure date had been moved up to March 10 at his request and he would be replaced by Benoit for the short term.

Serio on Thursday declined to comment on his departure except to say, “This isn’t a simple thing.”

Lancaster’s letters thanked Serio “for the good work he has done ... over the past two years. ... Please join me in wishing him the best in his future endeavors.”

Lancaster also said at the time that Benoit would receive advice from archdiocese schools Associate Superintendent Jack Truxillo and veteran Catholic schools administrator Glenn Gennaro as she transitioned into her new role.

Before becoming interim principal, Benoit served as Chapelle’s assistant principal for both student activities and academics.

She previously worked as a teacher and director of campus ministry at Archbishop Hannan High School, where Serio spent 20 years as principal beginning in 1987, when the school opened.

Benoit has a master’s degree in education with a concentration in Catholic school administration from the University of Dayton in Ohio and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the College of Charleston in South Carolina.

“Ms. Benoit has a strong record of both professional service and volunteerism with an emphasis on Catholic ministries,” the archdiocese said in a statement.

Benoit could not be reached for comment.

Also Thursday, U.S. Sen. David Vitter’s office announced that Chapelle will receive a share of more than $5.6 million in Federal Emergency Management Agency money awarded to New Orleans-area Catholic schools following Hurricane Katrina. Archbishop Rummel High School in Metairie and Archbishop Shaw High School in Marrero also will get a cut of that money, Vitter’s office said.