By Staff     9/9/2019

The Diocese of Orange welcomes seven highly experienced educators to lead Catholic elementary school communities in Costa Mesa, Dana Point, La Habra, Rancho Santa Margarita, San Clemente, and Santa Ana.  

We profile four of the new principals below and will introduce you to three more in our Sept. 15 issue. 


Julie Radzai has been an educator at St. Junipero Serra School for the past 14 years. Radzai will be serving as upper school principal, overseeing grades five to eight this year. Prior to being a principal, Radzai taught middle school math and science and held various leadership positions in school administration. Most recently, she served as an assistant principal, mentoring, and improving individual and collective capacity of 25 teachers under her leadership. Radzai looks forward to continue strengthening the Serra community of parents, students, teachers, and staff. Radzai earned her Bachelor of Arts in Communications from California State University, Fullerton, and her Master of Arts in Catholic School Administration from Loyola Marymount University. Radzai holds teaching and administrative services credential in California. 

Lisa Gilbert comes to St. Joachim School in Costa Mesa from the Diocese of San Diego. Gilbert has been a Catholic school educator for 17 years, starting as a teacher and later as a Catholic school administrator. In her final year at St. Mary’s School in San Diego, Gilbert directed the Blended Learning Initiative in the middle school grades, that became the program model for the Diocese of San Diego. Gilbert received her bachelor’s degree in Diversified Liberal Arts from the University of San Diego, her master’s in Art in Marriage and Family Therapy from U.S. International University, San Diego, and her master’s in Education in Leadership and Administration from Pepperdine University Los Angeles. As the new principal of St. Joachim Catholic School, following Sister Kathleen Marie Pughe’s retirement, Gilbert’s vision is “to create a positive, inclusive school culture where all students thrive personally and academically, while growing closer to God every day.” 

Tom Waszak, a veteran Catholic school educational leader, is chosen to lead The Parish School at St. Edward, following Dr. Catherine Muzzy’s retirement. Waszak has been a Catholic school educator for more than 40 years. He spent 23 years at Loyola High School as a teacher, administrator, director, and coach. He was then recruited to become the founding principal of JSerra Catholic High School in San Juan Capistrano where he served for eight years, building the school from 30 students to over 1,000. For the past eight years, Waszak served at St. Francis of Assisi in Yorba Linda as principal and president. Waszak holds a master’s in School Administration and a bachelor’s in Biology from Loyola Marymount University. 

Melissa Geary has been a part of the St. Columban Catholic School community in Garden Grove since 2012. At St. Columban School, Geary has served as a teacher, a learning support coordinator, and interim principal. Geary earned her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of San Francisco, her Master of Science and Multiple Subject Teaching Credential from Dominican University of California, and an Autism Spectrum Disorders Added Authorization from Brandman University. As the new principal of St. Columban School, Geary hopes “to inspire [her] school and help [her] school community grow…to make the school the best place for students to grow academically and spiritually.”