KELLEY, SR. MARGARET ANN (November 29, 1931-January 21, 2013) was a Catholic nun, teacher, and administrator who worked to transform the schools she led by encouraging strong community participation. She was the youngest of four children born to John Joseph and Ellen (Hayes) Kelley.

Growing up in southeast Cleveland in ST. CECILIA PARISH, she graduated from  BEAUMONT SCHOOL in 1949. That same year, she entered into the URSULINE SISTERS OF CLEVELAND.  The order sent her to  ST. JOHN COLLEGE for undergraduate and graduate degrees in education. She took her final religious vows on August 8, 1955. Her ministerial career began at Holy Cross School in Euclid, followed in the next ten years by appointments at numerous other Catholic elementary schools in the area.  She taught many subjects, including Latin.

In 1966, Kelley became a teacher and  assistant principal at St. Philomena School in East Cleveland. Assuming the role of principal in 1969, she worked to encourage parents to take an active role in their children’s education with the help of a grant received from the National Defense Education Act. Her approach to organization led to a successful merger of St. Philomena with neighboring Christ the King School in 1974. She would continue to foster parent participation as principal at St. Ann school in Cleveland Heights.

In 1982, Kelley began a fifteen year stint at her alma mater Beaumont, starting out as assistant principal before becoming principal in 1986. By 1991, Kelley stepped up to the presidency of the all-girls high school. Inheriting a large deficit, she worked not only to stabilize finances but also to create the foundations for a lasting endowment and scholarship fund. Her presidential tenure also included the creation of a computer lab and athletic field. The year 1997 saw Kelley retiring from both Beaumont School and education. She then devoted her time to various pastoral ministry positions at ST. JOHN CATHEDRAL and Our Lady of Peace Parish until 2012.

Working for over forty years in education, Sister Kelley was a member of numerous groups, such as the National Catholic Education Association. She was identified as the Outstanding Secondary Principal in the Diocese of Cleveland and in 2000 she was honored with the Irish American Archives Society’s WALKS OF LIFE AWARD. She passed away on January 21, 2013 at the age of 81 and is interred at All Souls Cemetery in Chardon, Ohio.


Daniel Brennan and David Patrick Ryan


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