The 2022 Lasallian Association of Secondary School Chief Administrators (LASSCA) Conference brought leaders together February 27 – March 2 at the Rosen Plaza Hotel in Orlando, Florida. Themed “Rejoice, Redefine, Renew: Engaging Our Lasallian Communities,” the conference featured opportunities for leaders to reconnect after two years apart due to COVID-19.
“It’s refreshing to come back and see old friends and new colleagues, as well as continue the networking that just really is one of the important elements of the entire LASSCA Conference,” shared Frank Miley, president of Cretin-Derham Hall in St. Paul, Minnesota. “This year’s speakers have been great, and I look forward to coming back next year.”
The conference featured three keynote presentations. Author and psychologist Michael G. Thompson, Ph.D., spoke on topics including the relationship between teachers, administrators and parents. Sister Mary Angela Shaughnessy, S.C.N., J.D., Ph.D., attorney at law and education, discussed legal issues schools could face, highlighting specific cases. Josh Packard, Ph.D., and Nabil Tueme, MA, presented on research done by Springtide Research Institute and others that focused on young people and belonging. The gathering also offered five learning roundtables on topics including growth, sustainability, enrollment, needs of employees and inclusive communities.
Chris Themistos, principal of St. John’s College High School in Chevy Chase, DC, found the topics covered and conversations shared to be helpful in providing tools to back to his school, such as the importance of community. “We need to strive to continue to rebuild all of our own communities, whether it’s through strengthening our students’ faith life, strengthening all of our communities’ inclusivity, and just strengthening the bonds that we have within our schools,” he shared.
The conference schedule included plenty of opportunities for leaders to build community and discuss shared experiences, including the “Wine and Wisdom” session on opening night, an afternoon with options to focus on well-being, socials, a forum for presidents and board members, a forum for principals and dinners by District.
“I started being a principal in the summer of 2020, and so I met all my colleagues in the District through Zoom meetings for the past year and a half,” said Alanna O’Brien, principal of La Salle Catholic College Preparatory in Milwaukie, Oregon. “To get to be here in person and connect with people around a table, in person, there’s no comparison. Zoom meetings got us through, but it’s not the answer for the future. I appreciated learning from and connecting with colleagues in my own District and the other Districts, as well.”
Following Mass on opening night, Justin-Siena High School in Napa, California, was honored with the Brother Michael Collins Award of Excellence for its Lasallian Education Access Program, which provides tuition assistance and academic and personal support for economically disadvantaged students.
A change in LASSCA leadership also took place at the conference, with Matthew Keough, president of Christian Brothers Academy in Syracuse, New York, being elected as vice president. Jim Benson, principal of DeLaSalle High School in Minneapolis, Minnesota, moves from LASSCA president to immediate past president, and Melinda Lawlor Skrade, Ph.D., president of Sacred Heart Cathedral Preparatory in San Francisco, California, moves from LASSCA vice president to president. Brother John Kane, FSC, president of Calvert Hall College High School in Baltimore, Maryland, was honored for his years of service as a LASSCA officer, most recently as immediate past president.
A number of generous corporate sponsors helped to support the LASSCA Conference: Bottom Line Concepts, Catholic Virtual, Changing Our World, Christian Brothers Services, Copywatch, Eduscape/The Procedo Project, FACTS Management Solutions, Habeeb & Associates, McLaughlin Social Justice Institute at Christian Brothers University, Measuring Success, Partners in Mission, Ray Dass, Tarpey Group and Unbound 360/Admission Pro.
The 2023 LASSCA Conference will return to Orlando February 26 – March 1.