Preparing a New Generation of Catholic School Leaders
Founded in 1993 by Rev. Timothy R. Scully, C.S.C., and Rev. Sean McGraw, C.S.C., the Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE) has become famous for an innovative formation program that has produced hundreds of talented and committed teachers for service to hundreds of thousands of children enrolled in Catholic schools.
ACE’s deepest institutional commitment is to ensure that these children have access to the highest quality Catholic education, and meeting that commitment requires the formation and training not only of great school teachers, but of great school leaders as well.
Accordingly, in 2002, ACE initiated an intensive 26-month training program for Catholic school principals. Renamed the Mary Ann Remick Leadership Program six years later, when it was generously endowed by Mary Ann and Jack Remick, of Rochester, Minnesota, the program invites already qualified teachers to consider service as a school leader. Its participants engage in a vocational discernment appropriate to all potential leaders earning administrative licensure by interning for two years in a Catholic school under the supervision of a certified principal and returning to the Notre Dame campus for three summers of coursework. Each summer, they take courses in three central domains—instructional leadership, executive management, and school culture, and during the academic year, they apply the skills and knowledge obtained from their coursework to their real-life situations as leaders in their schools.
The Mary Ann Remick Leadership Program has become the largest program of its kind, preparing Catholic school leaders who have embraced the ACE vision of “leadership that promotes strong Catholic school culture, applies executive management skills, and fosters academic excellence.” Program graduates now working in Catholic schools include superintendents, principals, assistant principals, program directors, teaching and learning specialists, and directors of religious education.
Last June, at the annual ACE Commencement ceremony, Notre Dame conferred 108 graduate degrees upon the next generation of Catholic school teachers and leaders, 25 of whom were graduates from the Mary Ann Remick Leadership Program. As one of the speakers on that occasion saw it, they have their work cut out for them.
“Transformational school leaders are world-builders, architects of the soul who bring to life for the members of their Catholic school communities a compelling vision of the core values and goals of a Catholic education,” Father Scully said. “Though the challenges faced by Catholic schools have changed rather dramatically in the current American context, the core values and goals remain ever the same: to invite our students to an encounter with the living person of Jesus Christ while at the same time engendering a deep love of learning.”