Catholic School Matters Top Five

Last week I wrapped up the Turnaround podcast series.  I initially recorded 10 episodes but ended up adding three additional schools (All Saints in Omaha, St. Jerome’s in Maryland, and Mt. St. Mary HS in Oklahoma City) who contacted me to share their great stories.  This week, I turn my attention to new Catholic schools.  The series will serve as a roadmap for any Catholic community desiring a new school and I hope it inspires more great work.  So far, I’ve recorded 15 episodes which will drop over the next three weeks.

On Monday, I’ll talk to Faustin Weber, the founding principal of St. Michael Catholic High School outside Mobile.  The school opened in 2016.  Here is an aerial view of the campus, the initial recruiting video, and the announcement of cardinals as the mascot.  This is a comprehensive Catholic high school and Weber will share how the culture of the school was created along with the dynamics of raising money, designing, recruiting students, etc.

On Tuesday, I’ll talk to Ted Hanes, the founding principal of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton High School in rural South Carolina.  The school opened last fall.  The school is built on a much smaller scale and has been a struggle for Hanes and his supporters.  But it’s a remarkable story!

On Wednesday, I’ll talk to Andi Kane, the founding principal of St. Ignatius High School in the Boise suburb of Meridian.  This was by far the largest new Catholic elementary school to open this year and Kane shares her ideas on design, recruiting, and fund-raising.  St. Ignatius has a web page dedicated to web links and stories.  There’s also a great story on the Basque community of Boise (partly the reason for the name of the school).

On Thursday, I’ll talk to Fr. Richard Rocha, the founding president of St. Michael the Archangel High School in suburban Kansas City.  Opened this year, the school is brand new and represents a consolidation of two previous Catholic high schools.  The efforts to create a brand new school culture are interesting.

On Friday, I’ll to Karen Fagg, the president of the Billings Catholic School Board and a long-time supporter of Billings Catholic Schools.  Last fall, the Billings Catholic School system realized a long-time dream by building a brand new school for St. Francis Catholic Schools.  Coincidentally, the school sustained major damage yesterday (Saturday, Feb 10th) from a burst pipe and will have to undergo extensive renovations once the water is cleaned up.

After publishing 13 podcast episodes on Turnaround Catholic schools, I turn my attention this week to new Catholic schools.  Listen to the school leaders explain how and why they established new Catholic schools in Alabama, South Carolina, Idaho, Missouri, and Montana.  I’ve also included some great articles and links this week.

Top 5:

  1. The Need to Think Differently” in the American Catholic News section is a great blog post by Don Drees (President) Dr. Bill Hughes (Chief Academic Officer) of Seton Schools in Milwaukee.  They argues that we (Catholic school leaders) need new thinking to avoid catastrophes such as the closing of Jubilee Catholic schools.
  2. The next article, “The Scariest Catholic in America” is a feature of Fr. James Martin.  It should serve as a wake-up to Catholics to listen to one another and open our hearts to each other.  Otherwise, with friends like these, who needs enemies?  Divided we fall, folks.
  3. In the Catholic School News section, there is a combined NCEA/USCCB document on 529 plans.  This FAQ would be a great resource for Catholic school marketing.  You might want to insert these in parish bulletins, post on your website, pass out to your parents, etc.
  4. In the Leadership section, the HBR article entitled “If You’re So Successful, Why Are You Still Working 70 Hours a Week?” is a great article examining what we define as success and what role negative motivators such as insecurity and perfectionism play in our lives.
  5. In the Miscellany section, I love the first article on individualism which appeared in the month’s Sojourners magazine.  “Bowling Together” examines how communities have become separated and we need more emphasis on the common good.

This week marks the beginning of Lent.  I pray that you find this time to be fruitful and holy. Have a great week!