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School Pastors' Institute

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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 brought together 1,060 pastors from 134 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 understand, support, and advocate for Catholic schools.

Conference Goals and Content

The School Pastors' Institute is animated by our mission to embrace, educate, and empower children, families, educators, leaders, pastors, and others committed to the apostolate of K-12 Catholic education. The conference will be rooted in three key areas: pastor as spiritual leader, the pastor and principal relationship, and the unique and critical role of the pastor in the Catholic school. Topics will include Catholic identity, financial management and advancement, the formation of personnel, the recruitment of Latino children to Catholic schools, and public funding for Catholic schools. The SPI will also include breakout sessions for first-time school pastors, international priests who are new to the U.S. Catholic schools system, pastors with alternative governance models, pastors of regional or combined schools, pastors of rural parishes, associate pastors, and high school chaplains.

Summer 2021

Although the current situation is still evolving, which may have implications for the 2021 summer conference, we are hopeful that we will be able to host the School Pastors' Institute next summer at the University of Notre Dame. If you're interested in attending, please save the date for June 28-30, 2021. This is, of course, subject to change, so we ask that you please check back in January for an update on the 2021 program. 

In the meantime, please contact Steve McClure () for any questions regarding the School Pastors' Institute.

Interested in the SPI?

Regrettably, we had to postpone the 2020 SPI summer conference, but we are looking forward to summer 2021. Please check back with us at the beginning of January 2021 for more details. As of now, please save the date for June 28-30, 2021.

We will also gladly continue to accept pastor nominations for 2021. If you know a pastor who would be interested in attending the SPI, please follow the link below to complete the nomination form. We will be happy to reach out to him to provide further details about the program.


If you're interested in attending the SPI but have questions regarding the program, please contact Steve McClure.

GeorgeVaniyapurackal SPI2017


"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's Catholic Church
Diocese of St. Augustine




"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 Rio Catholic Church
Diocese of St. Augustine



"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