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About the School Pastors' Institute

In July of 2011, the Alliance for Catholic Education launched the School Pastors' Institute (SPI), a leadership formation symposium for pastors of a Catholic school. Developed at the request of (arch)bishops from across the country, the SPI is designed to respond to the unique and increasingly complex challenges and opportunities related to serving as a pastor of a parish school. Since 2011, the SPI has formed and served 1,125 pastors from 145 different (arch)dioceses to look more closely at the crucial role that the pastor plays in the parish school, as well as to foster best practices and collaboration among those engaged in this vital ministry. Now, more than ever, we need pastors who understand, support, and advocate for Catholic schools.


SPI Impact Over 10 Years


SPI Representation Map_2011-2021


Conference Goals and Content

The SPI is animated by our mission to embrace, educate, and empower children, families, educators, leaders, pastors, and others committed to Catholic education. The SPI conference is rooted in three key areas: pastor as spiritual leader, the pastor and principal relationship, and the critical role of the pastor in the Catholic school. Conference topics include Catholic identity, financial management and advancement, recruiting and hiring school leadership, the formation of personnel, attracting and serving Latino children and families, and public funding for Catholic schools. The conference also entails breakouts for first-time pastors, international priests who are new to the U.S. Catholic school system, pastors with alternative governance models, pastors of regional or combined schools, pastors of rural parishes, associate pastors, and priests who serve as high school chaplains. 

Following the SPI summer conference, pastors will have the opportunity to reconvene virtually on four separate occasions throughout the year. In response to feedback from past participants, we are extending SPI programming for the first time to include a series of four professional development sessions. These sessions will be conducted via Zoom and are designed to both deepen pastors’ knowledge around key issues facing school pastors today, as well as provide additional opportunities for fellowship with other members of the cohort.

Summer Conference 2022

Registration for the 2022 School Pastors' Institute is now open! The deadline to register is May 31st. The 2022 SPI summer conference will take place on the campus of the University of Notre Dame, July 11-14. We will begin on Monday, July 11, 2022, at 5:30 p.m. and will conclude on Thursday, July 14, 2022, at noon.

The registration fee for the 2022 SPI conference is $500 and includes all meals, accommodations, and materials. Participants are responsible for their own travel. 

Please note that if the cost is prohibitive of you attending, there are funds available to cover a portion of the registration fee. Inability to pay the registration fee should not be a reason to not attend. For more information, please contact Steve McClure (

We also welcome pastor nominations. If you know a pastor who might be interested in attending the SPI, take a moment to fill out the nomination form below.



Fr. George Vaniyapurackal"I learned a lot from the School Pastors' Institute; it inspired me to love St. Paul's Catholic School more deeply. Our devoted principal is committed to keeping the Catholic identity in our school, as are our teachers, who are trained by Notre Dame. I am happy to be their pastor, encouraging and appreciating their ministry at the school. I have been so impressed by the Notre Dame campus and its spiritual atmosphere radiating here."

-Fr. George Vaniyapurackal
St. Paul Catholic Church
Diocese of St. Augustine
Fr. John Tetlow"I was overwhelmed by my experience at the School Pastors' Institute; I can't wait for this new school year to start. This week has made me look at the school through a different set of lenses. I am also excited that my new principal graduated from the ACE program, and I truly believe this will allow us to be on the same page as we work together for the good of the children."

-Fr. John Tetlow
San Juan del Río Catholic Church
Diocese of St. Augustine
Fr. Miguel Gonzalez"One of the great lessons I received from the School Pastors' Institute centered on opportunities one can take advantage of when supporting your school principal. It truly reaffirmed my commitment to strengthen, as a pastor, a ministry of presence, with the entire school family. I'm excited to bring back to our parish campus the resources that were offered, along with the experience that other participants brought to the table!"

-Fr. Miguel González
St. James Cathedral
Diocese of Orlando