Shirley Kalinowski began her Catholic school career at Santa Cruz Catholic School in Tucson, Arizona. Her first assignment was in the fourth grade. After four and a half years at Santa Cruz and earning her Masters Degree in School Administration and Supervision, she transferred to St. Joseph Catholic School. Mrs. Kalinowski was at St. Joseph Catholic School for the next 15 years as her own children attended St. Joes. In 2006, an opening at San Xavier Mission School for the Principal's position opened up. Mrs. Kalinowski was hired as the first lay principal after 142 years of religious sisters leadership of the Mission school.

Mrs. Kalinowski is now beginning her tenth year at San Xavier Mission School and her 30th year in the Diocese of Tucson Catholic School system.