In the Spotlight: Roseanne Villanueva
One never knows what brings Catholic school principals to their positions.
When Roseanne Villanueva moved to Tucson seven years ago, she says, "I didn't know about Catholic education. I didn't go to Catholic school. I didn't think I could afford it, and it wasn't something I really believed in."
So when she enrolled her two youngest (of four) sons in the preschool at St. John the Evangelist, she was initially happy just to have a place for them to go.
Within the first month, though, "I noticed a difference between the two older boys, who were in public school, and the two younger ones. The two little ones were talking about God in a way that I never had heard little kids talk, and I hadn't realized that could happen at that age. I liked the way they treated each other and the topics they brought up to talk about."
Naturally, Roseanne brought her older children to St. John the Evangelist as well. A teacher in a public school at the time, she asked the principal to keep her in mind for any future openings. That very spring, a position became available, and despite the pay cut on top of the expense of sending all four boys to Catholic school, her family decided to make the switch.
This teacher who once had never considered Catholic education was now teaching in a Catholic school--and loving it. She especially appreciated subbing in religion classes: "You learn about something when you teach religion in Catholic school," she says, "and I learned about my faith when I taught it. It's still one of my favorite things, to get to sub religion if a teacher is out."
Roseanne became principal of St John the Evangelist, a Notre Dame ACE Academy, in 2009. About it she says, "There's no school anywhere where the teachers are getting the kind of training our teachers are getting. The quality of education has gone up here. All the resources have made such a difference for the kids." Roseanne also points to the collaborative culture of the Academies, where the principals of the three schools can turn to each other and teachers who once worked in near isolation can share ideas, as a major factor in the success of St. John the Evangelist.
This is how the Holy Spirit works. Under Roseanne's leadership, the school where she first enrolled two of her children simply because it was a good place for them has gone from struggling to thriving. Under her leadership, the school about which she initially knew so little is now on a steep upward trajectory with enrollment increasing, school culture growing stronger and more defined, and student achievement scores up as much as two years in some classes. This is how the Holy Spirit works. Thanks be to God!