Joe Haas


Joe Haas brings nearly 30 years of leadership experience in Catholic and nonprofit social service organizations to the role of president of Mercyhurst Preparatory School.

Since 2008, Haas has served as the chief executive officer of Catholic Charities Counseling and Adoption Services (CCCAS). As CEO, Haas oversaw the organization’s administrative functions, programming, finances and facilities across eight offices throughout the 13-county Diocese of Erie. Prior to CCCAS, Haas held various senior leadership roles over nearly two decades at Family Services of Northwestern Pennsylvania.

Haas holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from Allegheny College and a master’s degree in counseling from Gannon University. He is also a licensed counselor, holding designations as a Pennsylvania Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC), National Certified Counselor (NCC), and Level II Certified Clinical Trauma Professional.

An active volunteer in the Diocese of Erie and the local community, Haas has served as a youth minister, religious education teacher, university campus minister, and baseball coach. He is also active in Rotary Club of Erie and the Knights of Columbus.

Paul Cancilla
Assistant Principal
Academic Dean


Mr. Cancilla has over 30 years of experience in education and over 20 years at Mercyhurst Prep. Mr. Cancilla received his Master’s degree in English. He became Mercyhurst Prep’s Assistant Principal in June 2009.

Mr. Cancilla participates in the International Baccalaureate program as Theory of Knowledge instructor and Extended Essay supervisor.

Cancilla won the University of Chicago Outstanding Teacher Award in 2008. He is a past fellow of the NWPA Summer Writing Institute and a former adjunct instructor at Gannon University.

Tom Rinke


Mr. Rinke most recently served as assistant superintendent for the Wattsburg Area School District from 2009-2014. Rinke was principal at Seneca High School from 2000-2009 and principal at Conneaut School District from 1995-2000.Rinke holds a Certificate of Advanced Graduate Studies in Secondary School Administration, a Certificate of Advanced Graduate Studies in Elementary School Administration, a Master’s of Science in Education, all from Edinboro University. He earned a B.S. in biology and a Secondary Education Teaching Certificate from Mercyhurst University and a Superintendent Letter of Eligibility from Youngstown State University.

Additionally, he is a member of the Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development, the National Association of Elementary and Secondary School Principals, the Pennsylvania Association of School Personnel Administrators and the Pennsylvania Association of Federal Programs Coordinators.

Rinke is a 1981 graduate of Mercyhurst Preparatory School.

Brenda Karlinchak
Assistant Principal
Dean of Students


Ms. Karlinchak has a decade of educational experience in both instructional and administrative roles. She received teaching certification from Ashland University and a master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction as well as her K-12 principal certification from Gannon University.

She brings a wealth of prior administrative experience.  After graduating from John Carroll University with a bachelor’s degree in biology, Ms. Karlinchak was the director of clinical research and programs in the Neurological Institute at University Hospitals Case Medical Center for nearly twenty years.  She also served as the executive director of a non-profit United Way of Greater Cleveland agency.

Ms. Karlinchak is a member of the Association for Supervision of Curriculum and Development and the National Science Teachers Association. She also belongs to the National Association of Secondary School Principals and the Pennsylvania Association of Student Assistance Professionals.

Board of Trustees


Emily Hartwig Wachter Chair
Carla Higgins Interim Vice Chair, Secretary

Board Members

Sr. JoAnne Courneen, RSM Michael Mogavero
Valerie Drabina-Dombrowski Marilyn Renkes
Curtin Jones, Jr. Tom Rinke (ex-officio)
James Kubaney Harold (Skip) Simmons
John (Jack) Mehler Mary Hembrow Snyder