On this week’s Catholic School Matters Radio Hour podcast, I have a great podcast with three great leaders in Catholic schools. First my old friend Kent Hickey, the current president of Seattle Prep, discusses lessons learned from the Amanda Knox trial.  In his first year as president, Amanda Know was arrested for an international murder which became one of the most followed news stories for years.  The community at Seattle Prep was torn between how she was portrayed and the young women they knew.  As she was (wrongly) convicted, Hickey and the community supported her and he took a lot of criticism for that support.  Listen to him describe the saga and how he navigated this difficult situation.  Here’s the critical article he referenced.  Here’s another article from 2010 which illustrates the pointed criticism that Hickey faced and an article describing the fundraiser that Seattle Prep held.

Catholic school leaders cannot prepare for every leadership challenge.  But we can learn from the experiences of others and this kind of in-depth personal analysis.

Then I bring on two guests from the city of Bismarck, North Dakota. Bucking the national trend, the Catholic schools in Bismarck are witnessing growth. We often focus on what is wrong with our schools and the problems we need to solve. But we can gain insight from learning about what is working well. Gerald Vetter, the dynamic president of Light of Christ Catholic Schools, shares what is working well there and the progress on the brand new St. Mary’s HS slated to open this fall (pictured at right).  Incredibly, Vetter has helped the school navigate their consolidation (all schools came together under one umbrella) and raise an enormous amount of money to build a new facility.  He shares the keys to growth in Bismarck and his vision for leadership.  Here’s an article kicking off the campaign and another giving an update.

Mike McMahon, the Vice President for Enrollment Management at the University of Mary, discusses the enrollment growth through mission focus at the small Catholic university in Bismarck.  Here’s an article showcasing the school’s growth.  The university has been praised for an intentional Catholic identity amid its growth.  There are new buildings and new energy on the bluff overlooking Bismarck.

There are lessons to be drawn from all three leaders about successful Catholic school leadership which makes for great listening during Catholic Schools Week.  Here’s another link to the podcast on Apple Podcasts.