The following blog was contributed by Kathy Mears of the National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA).
Leaders come in all shapes and sizes and from all types of backgrounds. In Catholic education, we are seeking diversity. We are seeking leaders who look more like the students we are serving.
As the immigrants who came from Western Europe discovered in the 1800’s, this vast country of ours holds much promise and hope. Now as we welcome those from Central and South America, Asia and Europe, Catholics in the United States understand that our Church will be enriched and grow because of our fellow disciples from around the world.
Identifying and supporting new leaders is something NCEA takes very seriously. Working with the University of Notre Dame, NCEA is a part of LEAD: Latino Educator and Administrator Development program. The goal of LEAD is to strengthen the Latino voice in both individual classrooms and schools. This initiative is designed to invite, advance and retain Latino educators in Catholic schools, as well as develop a better understanding of the opportunities and challenges that exist in this landscape.
This past week, I was invited to participate in the project and to meet in person members of our first cohort. I was so inspired by their dedication to their students, to our faith and the Church. Their desire to lead in our classrooms and schools was strong and gave me much hope for the future of Catholic education because the passion and love that they showed for the work ahead.
Students in our schools deserve to learn from people who look like them. They need to know that all people have opportunities to serve and lead and that people who look like them are leaders, are teachers, are principals, are disciples of Jesus.
NCEA is committed to support and to help develop the skills, knowledge and talents of all people who want to serve God by serving others in our Catholic schools. We know that there is much work and the laborers are few, but we know that as people who are passionate about children and our faith step forward, we will be successful in developing our students into saints and scholars.