Wow…January 2017! I’m having a hard time realizing that it is already the month of January (almost mid school year) and we are now in 2017. We are 17 years into the 21st century. Do you remember where you were and what you were doing in the year 2000? I was in Taber at the time, principal of St. Patrick School and as a Catholic community we celebrated the Great Jubilee and opened holy doors.
That was seventeen years ago; How things have changed and yet also stayed the same. As you begin this new year, I would ask that you reflect on your life since the year 2000. What has changed or stayed the same for you and how will you continue to grow this year in your faith, as a person, with your family and in your job?
One change that will be impacting our system and the entire Diocese of Calgary is the announcement of Bishop Henry’s retirement. Bishop William McGrattan from Peterborough will be installed in the Diocese on February 27th. I have worked closely with Bishop Henry since I began my senior administration career in 2001. Throughout that time, we’ve not always agreed on everything and I’m sure I’ve frustrated him once or twice. But what I am proud to say is that we had an authentic relationship. It is so unfortunate that he has been misquoted and misrepresented by many, including his own and yet he always remained resilient, faithful and committed to Catholic Education. I’m very grateful for his enduring support, especially during a time in my life when my career in Catholic Education wasn’t very pleasant for myself or my family. I would ask that you pray for Bishop Henry as he transitions to retirement.
Looking back at December, I was in turkey heaven, enjoying six Christmas dinners at schools. What a wonderful tradition in many of our schools. Holy Spirit was well represented at the Palix Foundation presentation where we spent a day learning more about the core story on brain development and adverse childhood experiences. This information was presented to the Board of Trustees at their regular meeting and a challenge to share whenever and wherever possible was made. All of the videos are now available to watch on our own YouTube channel.
In January, I start my future plans meetings with all of our system and school leaders. I’ve asked the same three questions for the last number of years:
- What are your 1, 3, 5 year plans and what position would you like to hold when you retire?
- If transferred, which three schools would be your preference?
- Who are three current school leaders you would like to work with?
I’m always humbled by the honesty of our leaders in these confidential conversations. It demonstrates tremendous trust which allows me to assist all of our leaders on their career paths. Developing more leaders not more followers has to be the primary goal of any leader. Now that I’ve reached that magical 55 years of age and realistically have about 3 1/2 years remaining, it is imperative to put all the right pieces in place to ensure that Holy Spirit continues to grow once I decide to retire. While I schedule these meetings for leaders, I welcome the opportunity for any staff to come in and chat about their future plans with me.
As I close off this latest installment of From the Desk of the Superintendent, I just want to provide best wishes for 2017. May God bless you and your family with great hope, good health and much happiness.