In Episode #67 of the Catholic School Matters podcast, Dr. Patty Weitzel-O’Neill and I share a great conversation full of insight.

First, we reveal a remarkable mentoring moment.  Over 3 years ago, I was given a remarkable opportunity to become the superintendent of Montana Catholic schools.  This happened in June when I was in Boston at a BC event.  I pulled Patty aside and explained the situation.  When I mention in the podcast that she was instrumental in my choice to accept it, I meant it.  If Patty would have told me “Don’t do it” I would have rejected it.  I’m not sure Patty knew that until now.

When Patty described her emphasis on cohorts in their signature programs, it reveals the importance of community.  BC is building intentional communities of practice and support because they know how critical community is to professional growth.

As we began discussing the importance of the National Standards & Benchmarks for Effective Catholic Schools, Patty pointed out that we have begun moving beyond an “auditing” mindset into a planning mindset which identifies best practices.  Auditing.  Haven’t we seen that?  Accreditation can devolve into checklists, policy manuals as well.

When we discussed the pitfalls of chanceries, Patty mentioned that we need to build communities and break down silos.  Displaying remarkable insight, she systematically suggests reasons why chanceries can become dysfunctional—silos separating different offices, culture of distrust, leaders fighting over scarce resources, lack of communication and collaboration, and competition.  She calls for solidarity and communication.

It’s a great conversation which reveals the remarkable mind of Patty Weitzel-O’Neill.