|Tim Forbes is the new principal at St. Matthew School. He spent time in Mary Ann Beavin’s third grade class on the first day of school, Wednesday, Aug. 12. Forbes visits with student Kennedy Cockerham. Photo by Andy Telli
Longtime St. Matthew Church parishioner and parent Tim Forbes is in familiar territory in his new role as the school’s principal.
He and his family became parishioners there when the parish was first formed in 1978. He left temporarily after graduating from Father Ryan High School in 1993, and returned in 2006 with his wife and daughters. He has been a St. Matthew School parent since 2007, and is now the school’s second ever principal, taking the leadership reins from Barby Magness, who retired at the end of the last school year.
Forbes feels that God has been calling him to this new role to educate young children in the Catholic faith.
“I’ve spent a lot of time praying about this decision to take on this new role,” he said. “I’ve been considering what is best for me professionally, what is best for my family, and most importantly discerning what God’s will is in this situation. I feel strongly that he’s calling me to lead this school and I can’t wait to get started.”
Long before he was named principal last spring, Forbes was involved with St. Matthew as a parent. That experience has him looking forward to working alongside the faculty at St. Matthew School, especially after all they’ve done for his two oldest daughters during their time as students at the school.
“I have a rising seventh grader there, a rising sixth grader, and another daughter who will be in kindergarten there next year,” Forbes said. “Through my own experiences as a parent, I’ve seen firsthand how great the teachers are at St. Matthew. They’re the best teachers I’ve ever met. They love their students and are very dedicated to what they do. I can’t wait to work with them and continue to evangelize the Catholic faith to our kids.”
Forbes has an extensive background in education. His most recent role was as dean of campus ministry and student life at Father Ryan. Additionally, he has completed 18 credit hours of instruction at The Citadel towards a master’s degree in education. He has a master’s degree from Loyola University in New Orleans in pastoral studies with an emphasis in adolescent development. He also recently finished a fellowship at Vanderbilt University in independent school leadership.
During his time at Father Ryan, he assisted with the school’s accreditation process through the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and helped create a five year strategic plan for the school’s growth.
He credits the Father Ryan administration with helping him prepare for his new job as an elementary school principal.
“Several years ago, I spoke to the administration at Father Ryan about my desire to lead students at the elementary school level,” he explained. “They’ve been giving me opportunities to help me hone the skills I need for this new position.”
While he is principal at St. Matthew, Forbes hopes to help students develop a strong fidelity to the Catholic faith.
“I want this school to help produce 21st century saints,” he said. “I want them to experience the world through a Catholic lens. Once they leave, many of them will no longer be in a Catholic bubble. But I want their lives to be informed by a Catholic worldview, with respect for all people from womb to tomb, and to regularly participate in the sacraments.”
Forbes is very touched by the support he has received from the school and parish community.
“The support I’ve received from the church and school community has been overwhelming,” he said. “I’m very grateful for it, especially from the parents and their willingness to jump into this new school year with me. Many parishioners at church have also assured me of their prayers for me. It means a lot.”
He is most touched by the backing he’s received from former principal Barby Magness, who helped St. Matthew become the second largest elementary school in the diocese in her 15 years there.
“To hear from her that she thinks I am the best person to succeed her is very humbling,” Forbes said. “Considering that she was the school’s first principal and has built this institution and done so much to help it have the success it has today, it’s incredible to get that kind of feedback from her.”