In this week’s Catholic School Matters Radio Hour, I talk with 6 veteran Catholic school superintendents. First up is Sandra Leatherwood of the Diocese of Charleston. She explains the damage to Holy Trinity Catholic School in Myrtle Beach from Hurricane Florence. Sandra shares her beginnings in Catholic education at Most Pure Heart of Mary School in Mobile, a school which traditionally has served African-Americans. Sandra also explores how she communicates during this abuse crisis—namely, honestly listening to the concerns of her community.
Dr. Melanie Verges of the Diocese of Baton Rouge was the first speaker on the panel. Melanie talked about growing as a leader to really listen and empathize with her principals. She has learned to not simply jump to problem-solving. She also talked about the transition to a new bishop and all that means to her office.
Dr. Daryl Hagan of the Diocese of Evansville talked about collaborative leadership and discussed building relationships with pastors and other members of the chancery. In a small office, Daryl serves as a great example of prioritizing relationships.
Dr. Kim Pryzbylski of the Archdiocese of Miami brought her vast experience (20 years as superintendent in Gary, Monterey, and Miami) to discuss how leadership looks different in different settings. In her current position, she can’t build the same relationships with principals and fellow chancery directors.
William Crist from the Diocese of Syracuse talked about the importance of building and maintaining Catholic identity at the school level. Here is a link to Bill at the anchor desk! It’s a great way to communicate with the schools.
David Faber from the Diocese of Grand Rapids pointed out that there is a lot of pressure on school leaders, superintendents, and bishops to turn around enrollment declines. People are expecting results immediately. David supports his bishop and appreciates his bishop’s strong support of Catholic schools.
These conversations communicate the challenges and opportunities in the Catholic school superintendency. It’s not often we get to listen to veteran superintendents discuss their positions. I find it inspiring and hopeful.
Speaking of hope, in the next episode I’ll carry a conversation with new leaders—a couple of principals, a president, and three new superintendents.
Click this link to listen to the Catholic School Matters Radio Hour.