Longtime St. Joe's Academy A.D. to Retire

sjaSisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet | SJA's Longtime AD, Michaela Witcher, Retires

Michaela Witcher, St. Joseph’s Academy’s longtime athletic director, has announced her retirement after 38 years. Since the school’s athletic program was established and throughout Witcher’s tenure, St. Joseph’s Academy student athletes have amassed numerous state championships, final four appearances, awards, and national recognition. Specifically:

  • 92 Missouri State High School Athletic Association (MSHSAA) “Final Four” Appearances
  • 41 MSHSAA State Championships
  • 28 Individual State Champions
  • 2 Midwest Field Hockey Championships
  • 6 Racquetball State Championships
  • 117 District Titles
  • Missouri State High School Athletic Association Scholastic Achievement Award winner (All St. Joseph’s Academy athletes have consistently qualified by surpassing grade point average benchmarks set by MSHSAA during the semester each team participates in athletics.) 
  • Three time finalist for St. Louis Post Dispatch Top Large School Athletic Program of the Year
  • Named Best High School Athletic Program in the state of Missouri by Sports Illustrated magazine (Award is based on all-around excellence during previous decade, state titles won, and college athletes produced.)
  • Recognized by  Sports Illustrated magazine as one of the Top 50 High School Athletic Programs in the United States

“The success of our athletic program is due to the hard work and dedication of our student athletes and our outstanding coaching staff,” says Witcher. “It is also a reflection of the entire school community’s commitment to excellence in the 3 A’s – Academics, Athletics and the Arts.”

Witcher joined the Athletic Department during the 1975-1976 school year when she began teaching physical education and health classes. In addition to teaching, she coached field hockey for 28 years, basketball for 12 years, and softball for 7 years.  She was named athletic director in 1986 and received her Certified Athletic Administrator certification in 2001.
With the foresight and guidance of former Athletic Director Rosemary Wellington followed by Witcher, the St. Joseph’s Academy Athletic program now offers a total of 28 teams—twelve varsity—overseen by more than 40 coaches.

Witcher credits her predecessors and colleagues for their inspiration and example. “When I began my teaching and coaching career at St. Joseph’s Academy, I was so very blessed to have two special women who instilled in me the true meaning of dedication, hard work, and class—but most importantly a deep and profound love of St. Joseph’s Academy! With love and respect—I am grateful for Sister Mary de Paul Berra and Rosemary Wellington. I have lived every day with that expectation of excellence as my guide.”

“The reputation of our athletic program is unsurpassed among girls schools in the state of Missouri, and this is due to Michaela Witcher’s leadership,” says St. Joseph’s Academy President Anita Reznicek.  “She holds our young women, and her coaching staff, to high expectations—in their dedication to athletics, their academic achievement, and in their respect for other teams.  Athletic Director Witcher leaves an amazing legacy of excellence on the field and off.”   

Witcher says her decision to step down was not an easy one—it required much prayer, thought, and discussion.  “I will miss this community of people who have been part of my life for 38 years, watching these talented and gifted athletes do amazing things and being able to call the BEST coaching staff in the state my friends! I am looking forward to golf, golf, and more golf!! I am also eager to spend more time with my family in Kansas City.”

Learn more about St. Joseph's Academy.

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