Mentor principals have played a critical role in the success of the Latino Enrollment Institute (LEI) since the program’s inception in 2012. The experience, accountability, and personal attention that these leaders provide has been a defining characteristic of the LEI, helping Catholic school principals—and their teams— institute lasting changes.
After schools attend the LEI summer conference, mentor principals maintain regular contact with the 4-6 school leaders in their group through monthly video conference calls. These conversations, which focus on various themes related to Latino outreach, recruitment, and enrollment, are an opportunity for school leaders to learn from one another and receive real-time consultation and feedback from their mentor on some of the things that they’re doing in their school.
The commitment of our LEI mentors, most of whom are still active Catholic school principals themselves, is truly the engine that drives the LEI.
This month, we highlight Jeannie Courchene, who has worked in education for over 40 years and has served as a mentor principal for the LEI since the program’s inception in 2012. Prior to joining the LEI team, Jeannie served as principal of St. Rose of Lima School in Denver, Colorado, for ten years. When Jeannie became principal of St. Rose of Lima in 1999, the school was in physical disrepair and in dire need of renovations. She and the pastor began the long road to cleaning up the school, while also seeking ways to attract more students. Under her leadership, Jeannie, along with the development board that she established, turned a failing inner-city Catholic school with declining enrollment into an incredible success story. Because of the school’s success, especially in serving the Latino community, St. Rose of Lima was the feature school in the University of Notre Dame’s 2009 publication, To Nurture the Soul of a Nation: Latino Families, Catholic Schools, and Educational Opportunity, which served as the impetus of the Catholic School Advantage Campaign.
Although technically retired from her role as a school leader, one would be hard pressed to find an individual who gives more of their time, talent, and energy to Catholic schools than Jeannie Courchene. She remains a tireless advocate for the mission to improve educational opportunities for Latino children, and she continues to share her expertise, knowledge, and passion with Catholic school leaders around the country through the LEI.
Read the interview with Jeannie below.