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The Secondary Schools Academy

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 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:

  • Advancement
  • Board Effectiveness and Accountability
  • Branding, Marketing and Communications
  • Building Instructional Capacity
  • Change Leadership
  • Conflict Resolution
  • Crisis Management
  • Discernment
  • Enrollment Management
  • Evangelization and Catholic Education
  • Finance, Facilities and Business Management
  • Governance, Canonical Authority, Mission Effectiveness
  • Legal Issues
  • Missionary Discipleship, Evangelization and Catholic Education
  • Or Mission in the Present Context
  • Personal Wellness/Balance
  • Personnel
  • Prayer Life and Personal Spirituality
  • Research on the President-Principal Model
  • Spiritual Leadership
  • Strategic Planning
  • 21st Century Teaching and Learning
  • The President-Principal Relationship
  • Time Management

The academy also provides an opportunity for sponsoring religious orders to provide their own unique, wrap-around programs for their participants.

Request information to learn more about our program. The cost for the 2019-20 Secondary Schools Leadership Academy is $1,800. 

Challenges Addressed Unique to Catholic Secondary Education

Challenges of Spiritual Leadership

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.

Challenges of Shared Governance

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?

Challenges of the Leadership Model

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.

The Challenges of the Presidency/Head of School

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. 

Challenges of the Leader

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.

Ongoing Professional Development and Ongoing Learning

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.