Faith Focus

Not good, but great

Qualities of a great Catholic school leader


What does it mean to be great? Greatness is to pursue the best and the highest, the good, the true and the beautiful in everything you do. Pursuing greatness brings a sense of joy to your purpose and a sense of peace in knowing that your purpose is not only about you or your achievement — it’s about glorifying God, who is mercy and love. This approach takes the pressure off the burden of greatness: “My yoke is easy and my burden light” (Mt 11:30).

Catholic school leaders are called to be great. Greatness is required because everything we do must give glory to God. Our school leaders don’t settle for anything less than the best, because that is what every child of God deserves. Our mission and our obligation as Catholic school leaders is to ensure that each child has the opportunity to reach his or her full potential. This is why our Catholic schools seek excellence in all areas of a child’s school environment.

The call to greatness also extends to a school’s teachers and staff, and the leader is the guardian and cultivator of the vision and formation for his or her school. This is why Catholic school leaders communicate the vision very clearly to all teachers and staff at their school. It is why they are passionate and openly share their faith. The teachers and staff must see where the school is going, so they can follow in that direction.

A leader must also be engaged in supporting all staff and providing opportunities to grow and enhance one’s practice. Our school leaders take every opportunity to provide professional development to their staff. The result is that teachers and staff learn the latest in areas such as STEM, fine arts and child development.

Finally, to glorify God in everything, the great Catholic school leader must be a person of deep and abiding faith. This vision of greatness is impossible to reach on our own, but entirely possible with God’s help, which we first received at our Baptism through the Holy Spirit. Jesus makes a promise of abundant fruit to those who remain with him in faith: “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; without me you can do nothing” (Jn 15:5).

We are blessed to have Catholic school leaders who foster greatness in our Catholic schools so that they can become nothing less than sanctuaries of greatness for our students, our families and for God.

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