The Secondary Schools Academy at Saint Louis University is an ongoing, national professional development program for current and aspiring presidents, heads of school, and principals at Catholic institutions, as well as those who aspire to be in executive-level leadership in a Catholic school.
The academy, formerly the Gateway Catholic Schools Leadership Academy, focuses on leadership for the future of Catholic education in a rapidly changing environment.
The academy is sponsored jointly by Saint Louis University, the National Catholic Educational Association, and a number of archdioceses, dioceses and religious orders.
This blended learning leadership academy explores the most relevant topics and opportunities centered around the challenges facing Catholic school leaders today.
The academy includes a series of 40 sessions on Catholic school leadership that include panel discussions, table talks, check-ins, and socials, as well as 24 content-specific sessions on:
The academy also provides an opportunity for sponsoring religious orders to provide their own unique, wrap-around programs for their participants.
The cost for the 2018-19 Secondary Schools Leadership Academy is $1,800.
As religious leaders are replaced by laity, how are leaders formed in the religious identity of the school and the unique charism of the sponsoring religious order? How comfortable are they to articulate and lead 21st century Catholic schools? It's not enough to be professionally competent, formation is critical.
As more Catholic schools move towards shared governance models with empowered boards, how do lay leaders articulate, safeguard and protect the appropriate oversight of the sponsoring canonical authority while empowering and unleashing the creative autonomy of the board?
The president-principal model is the most common response to the leadership demands on Catholic secondary schools but role specialization and differentiation can come at a cost. When people occupying these positions do not understand or have a willingness to do what is required, conflict and lower productivity can result with potentially disastrous results.
There is not a large pool of candidates who have discerned becoming a president or head of school of a Catholic secondary school . As a result, laity who have emerged from the ranks of academic leadership in a Catholic school are frequently promoted without formal discernment or training in the job expectations and skill set required of the presidency.
The demands on a 21st-century Catholic school leader are immense. These leaders require formation: the opportunity to deepen their spiritual and prayer life, the opportunity to understand and explore their personal strengths, and the opportunity to understand crisis management, time management, conflict management and personal wellness.
The opportunity to learn and grow in a professional learning community of peers who understand the unique joys and challenges of leading a Catholic school are often elusive. Research indicates that most presidents and heads of school are new to the job and learn through informal means without the benefit of mentoring or professional learning communities.