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Amid down enrollment, staff exits at Bell-Jeff, Archdiocese of Los Angeles affirms support

April 09, 2013|By Kelly Corrigan, kelly.corrigan@latimes.com
  • Family and friends watch as Bellarmine Jefferson High School seniors graduate in ceremonies held in the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in downtown Los Angeles last year.
Family and friends watch as Bellarmine Jefferson High… (Mike Mullen, for…)

The Archdiocese of Los Angeles has pledged to continue supporting Bellarmine-Jefferson High School despite declining enrollment and recent announcements that the school’s principal and athletic director will step down this year.

In late March, Principal John Matheus said he planned to take a sabbatical. The school’s athletic director, David Machuca, announced he was leaving Bell-Jeff to become offensive coordinator for the Glendale Community College Vaqueros football team.

“There's a lot going on at the school right now,” Machuca said, adding that he couldn’t pass up an opportunity to work at Glendale Community College, despite having been at Bell-Jeff for just one year.

Matheus had served the school for two years after spending 30 years at La Salle High School in Pasadena.

When Matheus’ predecessor — Sr. Cheryl Milner — left Bell-Jeff in 2011, there were about 300 students enrolled, but that number has dropped by about 100 students.

As the Archdiocese of Los Angeles seeks a new principal for the school, reversing the declining enrollment trend will be a priority, said media relations director Tod Tamberg.

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“The Archdiocese of Los Angeles fully supports Bellarmine-Jefferson High School,” he said in statement. “A search is underway for a new principal who will continue to nurture the school’s academic curriculum, foster its religious identity and increase student enrollment."

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Follow Kelly Corrigan on Twitter: @kellymcorrigan.

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