Catholic School Leadership: The Time is Now
Mary Frances "Frankie" Jones serves on the faculty of the Mary Ann Remick Leadership Program, as well as the Coordinator for Teaching and Learning for the Notre Dame ACE Academies.
We live in a time when many feel broken and hopeless. For Catholic educators who believe every child is made in the image and likeness of God, and therefore made for greatness, resignation is not an option. In the Mary Ann Remick Leadership Program, we cannot submit to despair; we are compelled to act.
The mission to be relentlessly inclusive and work for justice has been at the heart of our faith since its inception and has always been counter-cultural. Our faith is an invitation to radical mutuality in which my humanity is bound in everyone else’s. Catholic schools are uniquely positioned to extend that invitation to the next generation of leaders, “for it is in and by these schools that the Catholic faith, our greatest and best inheritance, is preserved whole and entire, as Pope Leo XIII wrote.”
Catholic schools have long formed children to love and serve others, and their effects on students and communities are profound. Catholic schools have a positive impact on academic outcomes, civic engagement, tolerance for differing views, life outcomes, and self-discipline. When Catholic schools close, neighboring communities suffer.
In the Remick Leadership Program, we believe that excellence happens on purpose, and that purposeful school leaders drive these outcomes. School leaders have the single greatest influence over the conditions and climate of a school and are second only to teaching among school-related factors in its impact on student learning.
Pope Francis’s recent encyclical, Fratelli Tutti, underscores that now is a critical time to become a Catholic school leader. Right now our children need communities, but the world prizes individualism. Right now, children need to be immersed in a culture of care and connection, but the world instructs them in the ways of division and disconnectedness. Right now, children need adults who believe they are made for the long-term goals of college and heaven, but the world values instant gratification.
We form transformational school leaders with zeal who build a more just and equitable world by creating schools where children and adults come to recognize, embrace, and enact the radical mutuality for which we were all made.
So why be a Catholic school leader now? Because you are needed to heal the world. Binding your life up in the lives of others and pouring yourself into the formation and education of the next generation is one of the truest expressions of hope. And in 2020, our children need all of your hope.
Are you called to Catholic school leadership? Join us for our Fall Webinar Series to learn more about the Mary Ann Remick Leadership Program.