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January 05, 2021

Get to Know AHA Middle School Dean Traci Koval

Dean Traci Koval will take the helm of the Academy of the Holy Angels Middle School this September, as AHA renews its tradition of serving students in Grades 6-8. In a recent interview, Koval, an experienced Catholic and charter school educator, provided a preview of the benefits AHA Middle School will offer young women.


How will AHA Middle School inspire new generations of young women?

AHA Middle School’s leaders and faculty members care about students and their growth. The school will provide girls with the foundation and groundwork to succeed in high school. Our program will provide a safe and nurturing environment where students will build on their elementary experiences and grow academically, spiritually, morally, and socially.


Why are all-girls’ schools so important?

All-girls’ schools are an excellent choice because each and every opportunity to lead, manage, coach, encourage, shine, create, and excel is available to a young woman. Opportunities will be available in class, on the field, in the theater, and in clubs and activities. Learning how to engage in healthy competition with peers is vital to a young woman’s growth into a confident, compassionate, competent individual. Getting a head start on this development in the middle school environment is a priceless opportunity to prepare for success in high school and beyond.


How will AHAMS fulfill the SSND mission to help each young woman reach the fullness of her potential?The School Sisters of Notre Dame’s mission to prepare citizens of the world will start at AHA Middle School with an introduction to the values of respect, communion in ministry, joy, transformation, engagement, and excellence. These values will shine through the sense of mission and service. We pride ourselves in educating the young women entrusted to our care, and pay close attention to each student’s intellectual, social, physical, and spiritual development.


How did you choose your career path?
While I was growing up in Carlstadt, two special elementary school teachers inspired me to pursue a career in education. I graduated from Henry P. Becton Regional High School, and earned a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts from Thomas Edison State College. I continued my education at Seton Hall University, where I received a master’s degree in education leadership, management, and policy through the Catholic School Leadership Program. I have completed the coursework and just need to finish my dissertation to earn a doctorate in school administration from SHU.

I am a certified principal and teacher. I have spent most of my career teaching in Catholic schools, and have taught nearly every subject to students from pre-K through Grade 12. Before coming to AHA, I served as a director of admissions, campus minister, principal, assistant principal, and dean of students, and guest taught at the college level.


When did you join the administrative team at AHA?
I first came to AHA as interim dean of students, filling in for Dean Andréa Beyer from June through December 2020.


Why do you enjoy being an educator?
Being an educator affords me numerous opportunities to meet young people at different stages of their lives; be instrumental in helping them see their inherent goodness, gifts, and talents; and encourage them to reach for new heights as they learn to cope with life’s daily struggles and rewards. I have been, and continue to be, richly blessed with many wonderful educators/mentors throughout my life’s journey and I relish the opportunity to pay it forward as often as possible.