When it comes to Catholic education, Susan Hendricks values history.
She values her own winding path to Catholic schools. One of seven children, she was raised in the Catholic faith. Her parents' modeling, she says, "influences me daily with my devotion to the Church and Catholic education." Because her father's Army career required multiple moves, however, only two of the eight schools she attended were Catholic. Later the young activist became a teacher and worked for several years in San Francisco's Mission District. Then she re-located to Maui and, she says, "Divine intervention guided me to a hidden jewel—Sacred Hearts School of Lahaina—where I am honored to be principal."
The 150-yr-old school she now serves was founded by the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts and later run by the Sisters of St. Francis. And here Susan's appreciation for history truly shines: "Standing on the shoulders of these consecrated giants and all of the everyday heroes that have gone before us is a gift of grace. We accept the mantel of duty to continue the legacy of preparing ourselves and our school community for salvation."
Susan is devoted, "heart and mind to Catholic education." In her studies with the program, she has learned about the Church's strong foundation of support for Catholic schools. And, she says, "I am driven to share this history with my school community.""I have learned that we do nothing alone, and that the relationships built in community of like-minded souls is a conspiracy of love, truth and action. The academic rigor and spiritual support in the ACE program has lifted my vision of Catholic education to a higher level of personal gratitude and political/social acumen. I am proud to be an agent of change in the movement of improving Catholic education today."
Hendricks is in her 11th year as principal at the Sacred Hearts School. This story was first posted on June 19, 2012, during her participation in the Remick Leadership Program.