Five Lasallian school leaders participated in the September launch of the second cohort of the Secondary Schools Academy, a program of Saint Louis University’s Department of Education in collaboration with the National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA), the Office for Lasallian Education at Christian Brothers Conference, and a number of other religious community sponsors of schools.
Designed as a one-year program featuring an in-person component at the beginning and end of the program year, the academy provides a broad overview of major issues, challenges and opportunities confronting modern American, Catholic secondary schools.
This year’s speaker at the opening gathering was Brother William Mann, FSC, past president of Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota in Winona, who spoke on our shared Catholic mission within our current context. Brother William led a group of distinguished speakers who addressed topics ranging from spirituality to advancement and utilizing and harvesting data for admissions and marketing.
With five participants from Lasallian ministries, the academy serves as a valuable resource for Lasallian leaders while also allowing Lasallians to share their expertise with peers from around the country.
“The Secondary Schools Academy was an enjoyable and beneficial experience,” said Chuck Stembler, principal of Calvert Hall College High School in Baltimore, Maryland. “It was pedagogically sound with a special emphasis on mission. Additionally, the networking opportunities with colleagues allowed us to explore practices from around the country adding to the richness of the program.”
“Without exaggeration, I can honestly say that the collection of speakers at the opening session of the Secondary Schools Academy was second to none,” said Ed Bernot, principal of Saint John Paul II Academy, in Boca Raton, Florida. “Not only did I come away from our time together with a wealth of information on a number of pertinent topics, but I had an opportunity to engage with other school leaders who share my passion for working in a Catholic high school. I am looking forward to the online sessions in the coming months and our return to Saint Louis University in April!”
In addition to Stembler and Bernot, Lasallians participating in the academy include Chris Fay, principal of Christian Brothers High School in Memphis, Tennessee; Maureen Szablewski, assistant principal of Christian Brothers Academy in Lincroft, New Jersey; and Kevin Hiler, assistant principal of San Miguel School in Washington, D.C.
The gathering also included networking opportunities with leaders in Catholic education, such as Dr. Barbara Edmondson, chief leadership and program officer for NCEA, and Brother Ray Vercruysse, CFC, past director of the Institute for Catholic School Leadership at the University of San Francisco and a member of the leadership team of the Edmund Rice Christian Brothers North America Province.
Subsequent sessions will focus on a variety of topics, with themes of the two online sessions in November being “Governance, Canonical Authority and Mission Effectiveness” and “21st Century Teaching & Learning.”