Fellow Profiles

School Type


Grade Levels


Student Enrollment



West Philadelphia


M.A. Education,
St. Joseph’s University


Administrative Certification Program,
Philadelphia Pathway to Leadership in Urban Schools


B.A. Journalism and History,
Indiana University

Emily Diefendorf

Principal, Our Mother of Sorrows/St. Ignatius of Loyola Catholic School
Independence Mission Schools
2019 Neubauer Fellow

“I am looking forward to growing in this professional community, as I develop my skills and experiences as a school leader.  I serve as a principal to increase my impact in student achievement. I believe that freedom is paved through education, and I work each day to provide a quality experience for each child in our building.”

Emily began serving as the principal of Our Mother of Sorrows/St. Ignatius of Loyola Catholic School in 2019. Prior to that, Emily was the principal of Holy Cross Catholic School for 3 years. Under her leadership at Holy Cross, students engaged in a new math curriculum, Eureka math, and increased math scores via Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) testing, which measures growth three times each year.


Emily has been an educator since 2004. Prior to becoming a principal, Emily served as assistant principal, middle school math lead teacher, and middle school teacher. Emily grew up in Indianapolis, Indiana.

2019 Neubauer Fellows Page