Remick Leader Matthew Daniels Leads Diocese of Toledo Catholic Schools
By: Melissa Pavloff
Today, Matthew Daniels, a graduate of the Mary Ann Remick Leadership Program and longtime Catholic school principal, begins his new position as the senior director of Catholic education for the Diocese of Toledo in Ohio.
Daniels will lead academic efforts across the diocese, which serves 15,000 students in 67 schools.
“It’s exciting and overwhelming at the same time, just knowing the challenges that face Catholic education today,” he said. “It’s a challenge, but an exciting one. With the diversity of the diocese, you get to see a lot of amazing things happen.”
After graduating from the Ohio State University and spending several years coaching football at both Ohio State and Marietta College, Daniels began teaching English at St. John’s Jesuit High School in Toledo. He also served as technology coordinator at St. John’s and helped to implement a 1:1 iPad program initiative for middle and high school students.
Greg O’Donnell, the associate director of leadership programs for ACE, commended Daniels for his commitment to faith and education development.
“As long as I have known him, Matt has been an incredibly joyful and faith-filled individual,” O’Donnell said. “He has an instant, lasting positive effect on each person that he meets because of his ability to truly minister to the whole person.”
Daniels said he is particularly excited to engage with teachers and faculty and build a support system for young leaders who are new to Catholic education. Recalling his own early experiences, Daniels noted that his first year as principal was difficult and lonely.
“I was stretched a lot and if it hadn’t been for some colleagues and friends and the Remick Leadership Program, I’m not sure that I would have stuck it out,” Daniels said.
Daniels hopes to draw from his struggles to create a more welcoming and supportive environment for new leaders.
“I’m motivated to make sure new school leaders have feedback, support and a strong sense of mission when they’re beginning that journey,” he said. “Like most things, I think you need a great coach in order to be successful, and that’s the one thing that I cannot wait to start.”
Daniels plans to focus primarily on fostering a more collaborative team effort through active communication and idea-sharing between schools, teachers, and principals in the diocese.
Daniels repeatedly reflected on the role his faith has played in forming him as a strong leader in Catholic education. He recalled his first trip to the University of Notre Dame, organized through the Remick Leadership Program, where he said he felt a profound spirituality that gave him strength to embark upon the new endeavor of school leadership.
“The Remick Leadership Program does a tremendous job of making sure it prepare leaders from a spiritual standpoint as well as a professional standpoint,” he said.
The new senior director of Catholic education also alluded to the importance of prayer in his evolving career. Having recently returned to Notre Dame, he said he was reminded of the spirituality that he felt during his visit, drawing meaning from Mary’s ubiquitous presence on campus.
“I don’t think anyone’s ever going to be prepared to be a school leader, but you can be at peace in the decision and certainly for me, prayer has gotten me to be at peace.”
Interested in Catholic School Leadership? Visit ace.nd.edu/leadership to learn more about the Mary Ann Remick Leadership Program.