Sr. Joan Fitzgerald, BVM, has dedicated over 60 years of her life to her faith and the education of others as a teacher, Principal, and currently President of Xavier College Preparatory. Since 1962, Sr. Joan has touched the minds and hearts of thousands of students at the all-female Catholic High School in Phoenix, Arizona. Catholic Education Arizona joins the Diocese of Phoenix and Xavier to celebrate this remarkable milestone, as well as the thousands of students we have supported together during the organization’s 25 years as Arizona’s leading Catholic School Tuition Organization.

Sr. Joan began her tenure at Xavier in the early 1960s as a teacher, influencing students in faith, community service, and academic excellence for 12 years. In 1974, Xavier elevated her to principal. In 2016, Sr. Joan was honored with the appointment as the first President of Xavier College Preparatory and led the effort for Xavier to be named a three-time recipient of the National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence award.

Loyalty and service worth celebrating

Marking this significant milestone, Xavier alumnae, faculty, and current students honored her 60th anniversary with a variety of celebratory events, including a school-wide assembly, a community celebration, and a memorial dedication on campus for future generations of Xavier students to honor a life lived in service to Catholic education. Arizona Governor Doug Ducey was in attendance to publicly thank and congratulate Sr. Joan for her numerous accomplishments and leadership, for not only the Xavier community but also for the State of Arizona. Sr. LaDonna Manternach, President of the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (BVM), joined the celebration and honored Sr. Joan for her lifelong mission of serving others.

A life dedicated to faith and education

Sr. Joan exemplifies Xavier’s mission to develop women of faith pursuing excellence.

Throughout her 60 years, Sr. Joan has received recognition for her commitment to faith and servant leadership. In 2020, she was named one of Phoenix Business Journal’s Most Admired Leaders. Sr. Joan also received the Elizabeth Ann Seton Award for Leadership of Diocesan Schools and the Ministry Award from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix, Arizona. Additionally, Sr. Joan served on the Catholic Education Arizona Board of Directors for 12 years, helping advance the organization and bring school-choice legislation to the forefront of Arizona!

Read more about Xavier on Catholic Education Arizona.



ABC 15. (2023). Sister Joan Fitzgerald Celebrates Sixty Years at Xavier College Prep.

Xavier College Preparatory. (2023). Leadership; Sr. Joan Fitzgerald, BVM.


Xavier was named a Blue Ribbon School of Excellence for the third time in 2013.