Welcome to the Institute for Catholic School Leadership! This ambitious undertaking of The Saint Paul Seminary School of Divinity is founded on a dedication to lay leadership formation drawing on the holistic and integral priestly formation that has a long history at this institution. Leader formation for Catholic schools takes advantage of unique formational opportunities due to its location at the seminary – a distinction from other Catholic school leadership programs. With this new institute, The Saint Paul Seminary School of Divinity acknowledges the ministry of Catholic school leadership and the vocation of Catholic educator.
For more than 40 years, my career has followed the trajectory of many Catholic school educators. I began as a middle school teacher in a parish school, participated in parish ministries, became a school counselor, completed my doctoral studies, and then became a Catholic school principal. Due to the variety of experiences, the distinctive nature of the Catholic school was evident to me. When I became a professor at The Catholic University of America, this uniqueness became the basis for my research on the intersection of Catholic identity and leadership. From relevant research and experience, the concept of contemplative practice developed as a leadership model specific to Catholic educational contexts.
My long-time professional focus on the distinctive nature of the Catholic school and the formation of school leaders motivated me to accept the invitation to direct The Saint Paul Seminary School of Divinity’s Institute for Catholic School Leadership. Priestly formation includes human, spiritual, intellectual and pastoral dimensions. I believe that Catholic school leaders also benefit from formation in each of these areas. Drawing on the definition of pastoral formation from the document Co-Workers in the Vineyard of the Lord, school leaders require a variety of knowledge and skills including: to form others in the faith, to lead community prayer, to communicate with families, to collaborate and manage conflict with and between others, to address special educational, cultural and language needs, and executive skills directly related to the management of a school (finance, marketing, advancement, legal issues). In addition, through our residency program, the human needs of Catholic school leaders will explore the skills to balance their personal and professional lives in spite of multiple high expectations.
It is my goal, shared by the many dedicated persons who support this institute, that we will be of service to Catholic school leaders through a variety of activities, beginning with the graduate Certificate in Catholic School Leadership. Future offerings will broaden the available programs to support graduates and colleagues as they serve in this significant mission and ministry of the Church. We intend to highlight the pastor-principal relationship for the benefit of the parish school.
Thank you for your interest in the Institute for Catholic School Leadership. Please become actively involved in our formational programs and join our community of contemplative Catholic school leaders.
Merylann “Mimi” J. Schuttloffel, Ph.D.