About DASS

What is DASS? What does DASS offer?

Current Director – Andrea Wirgau

Dr. Wirgau holds a M.S. in Experiential Leadership from Aurora University in Aurora, IL. and an Ed.D in Higher Education and Organizational Change from Benedictine University in Lisle, IL.  Most recently, Andrea was the Dean of Student Development at Aquinas College, a Dominican Catholic Institution of Higher Education in Grand Rapids, MI.

Andrea brings her gifts of leadership and her passion for education to her new position as Executive Director of DASS.  Enhancing the student journey and the quality of their experience is one of her highest values. Dr. Wirgau is a Gallup certified Strengths Coach and applies a strength’s based educational lens to all that she plans and develops. She is a motivational speaker, strategic planner and enjoys encouraging others to excel.

She is a native of Lowell, MI and credits much of her success to the upbringing and training provided in a farm setting and faith community by her parents, family members, teachers, neighbors, and the wonderful relationship she has with her husband and four children.

Executive Board Member – Dr. Cynthia Thomas

“The Dominican Order, founded by St. Dominic de Guzman 800 years ago, preaches the Gospel through many endeavors. One important endeavor is through Catholic secondary education. DASS is a school membership organization that fosters the Dominican spirit between and among Dominican Catholic Secondary Schools in the United States. Individual member schools, strengthened by the participation in DASS, preach the Gospel in their specific locations and through their constituents.”


  • Answers the question: “How does our school sustain the 800-year-old Dominican intellectual and spiritual legacy?”
  • Provides a structure for congregation and local school communities to honor the legacy and continue the work of Dominican education.
  • Supports the on-going dialogue with congregations and schools to establish strong programs of succession at Dominican sponsored high schools.
  • Offers a framework of what it means to be a Dominican school, provides criteria for evaluation and provides resources for the support of the mission.
  • Provides educational and formational resources for school leaders, board members, faculty, staff, students and parents.

Current Executive Board Members

Sr. Carolyn McCormack, OP – President (Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy, La Cañada, CA)

Joy Maness – Vice-President (St. Agnes Academy – St. Dominic School, Memphis, TN)

Linda Arndt – Secretary (Mt. St. Dominic Academy, Caldwell, NJ)

Dr. Cynthia Thomas (St. Mary’s Dominican, New Orleans, LA)

Christopher Olley (St. Catherine’s High School, Racine, WI)

Meg Bigane (Regina Dominican High School, Wilmette, IL)

Sr. Donna Pollard, OP (St. Pius X High School, Houston, TX)

Tom Donlon (Bethlehem Academy, Faribault, MN)

John Berry (San Domenico High School, San Anselmo, CA)

Sr. Kathleen Ann Tait, OP serves as the new Executive Director of DASS (as of November 1, 2014).

Sr. Barbara Dannhausen, OP, Sr. Maria Ciriello, OP, and Sr. Patricia Tavis, OP serve on the board as advisors.