National Catholic School Principal’s Appreciation Day!

Written by Karen Barreras, Director of Leadership Engagement, NCEA, [email protected]

Please remember to celebrate your school’s principal today! During a spelling lesson when I was in elementary school, my teacher gave us a clue to remember the difference between the words principle and principal. Simply, our principal could be remembered as being our “pal.”

As a former principal, one of my most memorable occasions was when an eighth grader was sent to the office for something minor, and he thanked me for giving him grace. Weeks later, he did something that really did require follow-up, and he was understanding and respectful in receiving the consequence.

Catholic school principals have numerous responsibilities, including, but of course, not limited to the NSBECS: Mission and Catholic Identity, Governance and Leadership, Academic Excellence and Operational Vitality. I imagine that most Catholic school principals also have even more responsibilities that fall under “Other duties as the job requires!”

The following is “A Principal’s Prayer,” written by Sr. Colleen Smith, ASCJ, and published in Stay with Us, Lord: Prayers and Reflections for Educators, Michael P. Caruso, SJ, Editor, published by NCEA, 2005, p. 85.

God’s flock is in your midst; give it a shepherd’s care.” (1 Peter 5:2)

Loving God, teach me how to be a good shepherd, one who takes time to truly know the sheep entrusted to my care. At times, the responsibility weighs heavily on me. There is more to do than hours in the day and more needs to be met than I have the energy to address.

And then I think of the flock, Lord, so much in need of You!

Remind me, now and then, of that which is more important in my ministry as principal, for you know that I love you.

And so, you say, “Feed my lambs.” Give me, Gentle Shepherd, a loving and compassionate heart for all the children entrusted to my care.

“Tend my sheep.” Loving God, help me to assist parents in their roles as models of faith.

You, Lord, are the Good Shepherd who lays down your life for your sheep. Once more, lay down your life in my, as I pledge myself in service to your flock. Amen.

Please give gratitude to God today, and every day, for the principals who serve our Catholic schools.

Please keep all of them in your prayers as they commit to the important ministry of Catholic education for all in our community.