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St. Albert, diocesan officials introduce new president to school community

St. Albert, diocesan officials introduce new president to school community

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St. Albert Catholic School introduced its new president to the St. Albert community during a press conference Wednesday in front of the school.

Anne Rohling, a member of the St. Albert High School Class of 1982, will become the first female to hold that position when she begins on Nov. 2. She will fill the vacancy left by Deacon Vernon Dobelmann, who resigned in August.

Bishop William Joensen told students Rohling was someone who “loves young people.”

“I’m just so delighted that you who achieved so much in life would come to help us here,” he told Rohling from the podium.

“We are so blessed to have Anne come forward,” said the Rev. Chuck Kottas, canonical administrator of St. Albert and priest at St. Peter’s Catholic Church.

St. Albert is a special place, Rohling said.

“It was just a super place for me to be,” she said. “We had teachers who cared. We had priests who knew what was going on. I’m just so overwhelmed to be a part of it and to be back here.”

Rohling said she was grateful for the support Bishop Joensen, local parishes and the St. Albert community have given the school.

“The cost to educate a student gets higher and higher and higher,” she said. “It’s people’s generosity that keeps this place open. There are so many people that volunteer their time to serve Council Bluffs, to serve St. Albert. My goal is for everyone who wants to come here to be able to come here.”

Rohling has spent most of her life in Council Bluffs. She attended elementary classes at several different parish schools and attended St. Albert from seventh through 12th grades.

Rohling’s father died when she was a young child, leaving her mother with seven children to raise. Although single parents were unusual then, people at St. Albert understood her family’s situation and offered their support, she said.

St. Albert didn’t offer a calculus class then, but the principal arranged for Rohling for her to take it at Abraham Lincoln High School.

“It was individual attention,” she said.

Rohling earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering the University of Notre Dame, a master’s in business administration at Creighton University and a law degree at Creighton University School of Law. She worked in engineering and manufacturing at ConAgra Foods for 15 years, worked on litigation at an Omaha insurance company, served as an assistant Pottawattamie County attorney and has operated her own law firm since 2015, specializing in patent law and assisting seniors with their legal matters.

After a nationwide search, the St. Albert Board unanimously chose Rohling to be St. Albert’s next president, said Joe Narmi, president of the board.

“I have always had an interest in helping St. Albert,” Rohling said. “The good Lord has blessed me with some talents that I think St. Albert could use.”

Rohling considered the opportunity prayerfully, which made it easier to make a decision, she said.

“I know it was the right thing for me to do,” she said.

Donna Bishop, superintendent of schools for the Catholic Diocese of Des Moines, believes Rohling is the right person for the job.

“Her vision, her passion and her energy — I love it,” she said. “It’s exactly what we need to continue to move forward.”

With Rohling’s help, Joensen said, St. Albert will help students not to “fall through the cracks,” but to “encounter Jesus in a real and vivid way.”

Rohling has been involved with St. Albert for many years. She served on the board from 2010 to 2016 and was president for three years. She also served on the finance committee and helped organize alumni softball games. She has volunteered to help with the St. Albert auction and other fundraisers. More recently, she was on the strategic planning committee that designed St. Albert’s new organizational structure.

Rohling has six siblings and 14 nieces and nephews. She has lived in Council Bluffs for about 25 years.

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