Benedictine Grad Among Nation’s Best Elementary School Principals | Benedictine College

Benedictine Grad Among Nation’s Best Elementary School Principals

Published: Wednesday, September 30, 2015


Philip R. Riley Jr., a 1989 graduate of Benedictine College and principal of St. Monica Catholic School in Dallas, was selected as Texas’ 2015 National Distinguished Principal by the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP). In October, Riley will travel to Washington, D.C., for two days of activities planned to honor and bring well-deserved recognition to the elementary and middle-level educators chosen by the states, the District of Columbia, plus private and overseas schools.

“At the helm of every successful school is a successful principal,” said Gail Connelly, NAESP’s executive director. “Our National Distinguished Principals program provides us with an opportunity to recognize the outstanding leadership of these principals and their commitment to creating successful learning communities. Because of them, students thrive academically, teachers grow professionally, and communities are strengthened.”

NAESP’s criteria for selection of the principals require that the honorees are active principals of schools where programs are designed to meet the academic and social needs of all students and where there are firmly established community ties with parents and local business organizations.

Riley has been widely recognized as a top administrator. In 2014, he was selected to receive the Msgr. John Meyers Distinguished Principal Award as the Principal of the Year for the Diocese of Dallas. In May of 2015, he received recognition as one of the 10 Distinguished Principals in the nation from the National Catholic Education Association.

“I attribute my great love for Catholic education to the priests, monks and sisters of Benedictine College,” he said. “Sister Sharon Murray, Sister Georgia McGarry and Father Justin Berry were instrumental in opening my heart to this ministry!”

Riley has served as the principal at St. Monica Catholic School since 2012. He previously held the position of principal at St. Joseph Catholic School in Richardson, Texas, and James L. Collins Catholic School in Corsicana, Texas. He and his wife, Terri, live in Garland, Texas, and have two children: Benedict and William.

Founded in 1858, Benedictine College is a Catholic, Benedictine, residential, liberal arts college located on the bluffs above the Missouri River in Atchison, Kansas. The school is proud to have been named one of America’s Best Colleges by U.S. News & World Report as well as one of the top Catholic colleges in the nation by First Things magazine and the Newman Guide. It prides itself on outstanding academics, extraordinary faith life, strong athletic programs, and an exceptional sense of community and belonging. It has a mission to educate men and women within a community of faith and scholarship.