Fr. John David Ramsey became pastor of St. Benedict parish in 2019. He was ordained a priest of the Diocese of Richmond in 2010, and served as Parochial Vicar at St. Bede, Williamsburg, and Chaplain to Catholic Campus Ministry at the College of William and Mary, before being named pastor of Our Lady of Mount Carmel parish, Newport News, in 2012, where he served until coming to St. Benedict. Fr. Ramsey was born in Charlotte, NC, raised in the United Methodist tradition, and entered full communion with the Roman Catholic Church in 2000.
Fr. Ramsey holds degrees from Davidson College (A.B., Classical Studies), Duke University (M.Div., Ph.D., Systematic and Moral Theology), and the Catholic University of America (S.T.L., Sacramental Theology and Liturgical Studies).
Sean Cruess has been principal at Saint Benedict since 2007. He has guided the school in making the transition to classical education. When he can find the time, Mr. Cruess still enjoys being in the classroom, especially leading the eighth grade seminar. Pope Saint John Paul the Great has been a great inspiration throughout his life. One favorite quote is, “We are not the sum of our weaknesses and failures; we are the sum of the Father’s love for us and our real capacity to become the image of his Son.”
Originally from the West Coast, Mr. Cruess has lived in Virginia since 2001 with his wife, Tracy, and their six children – five of whom attend St. Benedict. In his free time Mr. Cruess, enjoys reading a good book or playing board games with his family.
Mr. Cruess earned a B.A. in History and M.S. in Education, both from Franciscan University of Steubenville. His favorite class was The History of World War II taught by the late Dr. John Carrigg. As an undergraduate, he participated in the 4-year Great Books Honors Program at Franciscan. Mr. Cruess also holds a Post-Master’s Certificate in Educational Leadership from Virginia Commonwealth University.
Dean of Faculty
Mrs. Emily Radford taught 6-8 Social Studies at Albert H. Hill Middle School from 2000-2022 where she held numerous leadership positions such as 7th Grade Team Lead and History Department Chair. However, after 21 years in the Richmond Public School system, she returned to her alma mater to teach. Mrs. Radford attended Saint Benedict from Kindergarten to 8th grade and is the parent to a son who has done the same. Mrs. Radford received all of her sacraments at St. Benedict Church including holy matrimony. The Radford family enjoys picnics, Galaxy Con, and Friday night movie night.
Mrs. Radford holds a BA from the College of William and Mary. She was chosen to attend Gilder Lehrman’s Summer Institute at the National World War I Museum, the National Endowment for the Humanities Landmarks of American History Program at the Little Bighorn Battlefield, and participated in a “We The People” summer cohort at Montpelier.
Dean of Students
Jeffrey Cronheim joined Saint Benedict in 2015 after working at independent schools in the Midwest and South. He has taught Latin, Greek, History, and Philosophy and has coached football and wrestling. Mr. Cronheim is originally from New Jersey where he acquired a love of reading from his mother and a fascination with classical civilization from an early introduction to mythology and etymology. His enthusiasm for Catholic education was inspired by Sr. Francis and Fr. Mike at Immaculate Conception High School, and he credits Pope Benedict XVI with deepening his love for the Mass. Mr. Cronheim has a special devotion to Our Lady and to John the Baptist.
Mr. Cronheim earned a B.A. in Classics from Rutgers University and an M.A. in Classics from the University of Oxford. Herodotus, Horace, and Seneca the Younger are his favorite authors, and he has recently developed an interest in New Testament Greek, Mediaeval Latin, and fly-fishing.
Director of Admissions, Development and Communications
Gretchen Ridgely returned to Saint Benedict in August 2018. Having served previously as Director of Development and on our School Board, Gretchen is well positioned to serve in this capacity. Gretchen and her husband, Chuck, have two children, both of whom are graduates of SBCS and their family are longtime parishioners at Saint Benedict Church. Gretchen's dedication to the school is inspired by the Holy See's Teaching on Catholic Education and she values the timeless success of classical education and faithful Catholic formation.
Gretchen earned her B.S. in Marketing from Virginia Commonwealth University and held a designation as a CFRE (certified fund raising executive), with over 25 years in non-profit work. In her free time Gretchen enjoys cycling, tennis, golf, and painting. She also served as a facilitator for the ENDOW (Educating on the Nature and Dignity of Women) program, which seeks to educate women on Saint Pope John Paul the Great's teaching on the 'new feminism' and inspire women to transform the culture by living the fullness of their God-given feminine genius.