Mater Dei Prep Announces New Coordinator of the Center for Achievement


Mater Dei Prep is pleased to announce the newly appointed Coordinator of the Center for Achievement, Catherine O’Brien.

The Center for Achievement (CFA) was established and introduced to the Mater Dei Prep community in 2010 as a resource to address the unique learning abilities of each member of its student body. Through this unique educational asset, the CFA learning center helps develop individualized learning plans for Mater Dei’s students. The CFA operates in coordination with the Monmouth Ocean Educational Services Commission. The CFA staff supports students in developing the tools to be successful in their classes, as well as fostering student independence and developing  self-advocacy skills in high school and beyond.

Ms. O’Brien brings 15 years of experience in the field of education teaching elementary, high school and college students. She holds New Jersey Teachers Certifications in Elementary K-8, English K-12, and an Masters in Education from Seton Hall University. Ms. O’Brien is a familiar presence at MDP. She is a current English teacher, is extremely accustomed to the Seraph model and is fully engaged in the demands of the CFA. Debra Serafin, Principal at Mater Dei Prep, stated that “Catherine is a perfect fit for the CFA and will ensure continuity of the CFA’s important work. She is an extremely caring Mater Dei Prep staff member who works tirelessly to develop engaging lessons for her students, differentiate instruction to meet the needs of all learners, and is willing to go the extra mile to make sure her students are learning.” She continued, “It was important to the administration that Catherine also maintains excellent communication with parents and administration and has actively participated in intervention meetings, focusing on what she can do better to help a student be successful.”

As Ms. O’Brien stated, “Classroom teaching has provided a solid foundation for other work experiences and challenges for my future in the field of education. As our student population at Mater Dei Prep reflects a wide range of ability, I consider myself experienced to craft programs that will address students’ individualized learning needs.” She continued by expressing that “Recognizing student needs, balancing those needs with that of the student body, and researching and providing the required modifications have all been a part of my classroom experience. Above all, I have recognized in myself a peaked interest and desire to focus my work on this direction.”

The CFA was formerly led by Ann Marie Marx, who implemented the CFA model at Mater Dei Prep, and was equally passionate and willing to do anything to help her students succeed. As Ms. Serafin states, “Ann Marie Marx was the first Center for Achievement Coordinator. She developed the program to meet the unique needs and abilities of all student learners. A valued staff member here at Mater Dei Prep, Ann Marie will truly be missed.”

Mater Dei Prep is still accepting applications for the Class of 2024 as well as transfers for grades 10-12 on a rolling basis. Go to to apply or email Director of Admissions, Christine O’Connor, at with any questions.