Last week, principals and senior administrators travelled to Mount St. Francis for a retreat. The focus of the retreat was on the 5 Marks of a Catholic Leader. The marks were developed by the Council of Catholic School Superintendents of Alberta. An Excellent Catholic Leader:
- Embraces the dignity of all as created in the image of God.
- Advocates for Catholic Education within and beyond the school community and makes decisions rooted in Catholic teachings.
- Intentionally directs and fosters the development of Catholic Education through faith permeation.
- Is called to be a witness and an agent of hope, proclaiming the Gospel message to all people, everywhere and at all times.
- Ensures a communal vision; recognizing that God will be found with and in each other.
It has been 6 years since this group has gone offsite for some spiritual nourishment and while I know how difficult it is to get away from our schools and offices, I was again reminded of the importance of doing just that! Earlier this month, trustees participated in their yearly retreat at the Martha Retreat Centre. Like in our schools and for our students, spiritual retreats are an essential part of what we do in Catholic Education and going forward, we must continue the commitment to nourish our souls just like we nourish our minds in professional development.
One of my closing comments to the group was that this would be the last time this entire group was together for another offsite retreat. With the retirements of Brian Macauley and Lorelie Lenaour at the end of June the group will not be the same next year. This will also be the case in many of our schools with those who have already participated in the voluntary retirement program or those who may be announcing at a later date. While I’ll speak more about our retirees at our banquet in June, I can’t say enough of the blessing I’ve had to work closely with both Brian and Lorelie. They are truly excellent Catholic leaders and both have served Holy Spirit exceptionally well in their time here.
Speaking of retirement, the closing date for the Superintendent of Schools position is February 15th. Interviews have been set up for February 25th and I’m hoping that the turnaround for the announcement is quite quick. It takes approximately 4 weeks for the Minister of Education to sign off on a superintendent appointment. The sooner the announcement is made, the sooner we can begin planning for 2019 and beyond. While I’m very interested in who will be applying for the position, the decision for the new superintendent rests with the Board of Trustees and I’m taking as much of a “hands off” approach as I can in this process.
I’m well involved in my annual future plan meetings with all leaders in the school. This is year six of this process and I’ve always found it to be beneficial for both myself and the Division. The benefits are largely due to the honesty (and sometimes vulnerability) provided to me by our leaders. While I’ll have next to no influence beyond 2019, the information of future goals should be extremely helpful for the incoming superintendent. While I schedule these meetings with all administration, my door is always open for any staff to book a time to come in and discuss future plans.
At the beginning of this school year, we began our partnership with Canadian Blood Services. Our initial pledge target was 15. I am very proud to say that we had a total of 78 donors last year of which, 14 were brand new donors and 10 were reinstated (not donated between 12-36 months). Congratulations to all who donated this past year. Our target this year is 80! Happy donating!
In closing this message, I want to sincerely thank all those who in person or via email sent congratulations on my retirement announcement. I am most grateful for all of the kind words. God bless!