By Cathy Harasta
The Texas Catholic
Evelyn Grubbs leaned toward a career in chemistry in her student years.
Instead, the veteran educator found that great chemistry with colleagues, students and parents allowed her to make exceptional strides on a variety of fronts at schools including Bishop Lynch High School.
Grubbs, who has been the principal at Bishop Lynch since 2010, will retire on July 1 after 24 years of service to the school during a career in Catholic education that began in 1971.
“I’d feel like the old fire horse when it got to be August,” said Grubbs, a Dallas native. “I’d want to run over and get in front of the fire truck.
“This place, I’m going to miss it.”
Grubbs, a cat owner, recently reminisced in her office, which features a variety of decorative cats and feline images on walls and shelves.
“What makes me the proudest is the kids,” she said. “The work we do here is God’s work. It’s a vocation, not a job.”
Grubbs, who attended St. Cecilia Catholic School, graduated from Holy Trinity Catholic School and Ursuline Academy. She began her studies at Southern Methodist University as a chemistry major before switching to earn degrees in German and French.
She taught both languages at Ursuline Academy and taught math at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic School before beginning her Bishop Lynch career chapter as a math teacher.
In 2000, Grubbs said that Ed Leyden, then the school’s president, encouraged her to consider entering administration. Grubbs earned a master’s degree in Educational Administration in 2002 at Texas A&M University-Commerce.
She served as Bishop Lynch’s assistant academic dean and academic dean before she became the principal.
Grubbs established herself as an admired mentor on whose watch strides in technology and facilities expansion took shape.
Chad Riley, currently the principal of St. Joseph Catholic School in the Diocese of Fort Worth, has been named to succeed her.
Among her initiatives for which she feels special affection, Grubbs named technological advances, including the creation of a three-teacher “ITeam” to help with teacher training in technology.
She also said that adding more than 100,000 square feet in facilities in the last seven years—including a new gym, arts center and student commons—gave her a sense of pride in the Bishop Lynch community’s loyalty.
Grubbs said she might want to return to teaching.
“My door is still wide open,” she said. “Catholic education has been my passion.”
Her faculty and staff cited her unwavering support of their missions and ideals. They said that they will miss her leadership and fun-loving attitude.
Kay Gentsch, the school’s Business Department chair and an ITeam member, said that Grubbs encouraged teachers to continue their professional development.
“She is forward-thinking and is willing to embrace change,” Gentsch said. “Our instructional technology team—the ITeam—was designed by Evelyn to support teachers in their efforts to integrate technology into their teaching.”
Chuck Faucette, who became Bishop Lynch’s head football coach in March 2016, said that he admires Grubbs’ energy and enthusiasm.
“She makes you feel welcome all the time,” he said. “I’ll miss that. She supported me 100 percent and was at every one of our games all the way through the state championship. She’s a joy to be around and a great leader.”
Theology teacher Peggy Sanders said that she felt inspired by Grubbs’ strong faith in God and in the people around her.
“She has a lot of strength of character,” Sanders said. “She’s also not afraid to show that she is this human person.”
Sanders said that Grubbs went out of her way to help when Sanders suffered a broken shoulder in a fall at school.
“She took me to the emergency room and stayed with me for seven hours,” Sanders said. “She did not leave my side. She goes that extra mile.”