Here is the link to the March 4th Catholic School Matters Radio Hour. Two great guests join Dr. Tim Uhl on this podcast.
The founding principal of Juan Diego High School in Salt Lake City, Dr. Galey Colosimo, joins the podcast to tell the story of the origins of the school which began in 1999. The project began in 1995 and Colosimo tells the on-again, off-again story of the newest Catholic high school in Salt Lake City.
It’s an incredible story of how one man’s conversion benefited Catholic school students for generations. This school “broke the mold,” as Colosimo explained because the school was built completely without debt and was open on Day 1. The K-8 school exploded in popularity even before it opened but the high school originally struggled with enrollment but has now achieved blue ribbon status.
Colosimo shares his wisdom of leading a school for 20 years. “You have to be bugged a lot and pay attention to details,” he shares. Demanding more from people than they think they can provide is key to leadership and inspires people to achieve a vision for success. He describes practical ways he inspires and supports.
“Real, personal, meaningful relationships” is the mantra that permeates the school culture. Trust is built into the organization and Colosimo works to infuse that mantra into all aspects of the school. We also talk about paying attention to the right details and balancing the different demands to figure out what is important.
Colosimo also shares another mantra: “Students should be seen, heard, and encouraged every day.” What a beautiful message!
Then The Diocese of Sacramento’s Executive Director of Schools, Lincoln Snyder, joins the podcast to discuss new governance models in his diocese. Taking a unique path to the superintendency, Snyder’s business experience and work on school boards prepared him for the challenges of his current experience. He is also the first naturalized Polish citizen to join the podcast.
Snyder first discussed the Camp Fire and their offer to school any student displaced from that disruptive fire. This was an innovative effort to reach out in service to their fellow Californians.
When discussing the new governance models, Snyder discusses the historical role of pastors. He argues that the pastor never oversaw day-to-day operations of the schools–religious orders did. The “field visitors” of each religious order would supervise the school leadership and ensuring accountability. Pastors would build the school and then turn it over to religious orders. The current battle over the role of pastors ignore this history.
They have developed three new school boards for the elementary regions. Bishop Soto had a different perspective on schools which was reliant on lay collaboration. For each of the boards, the bishop and pastors serve as the Member Board and that board appoints and supervises the lay board and the department of Catholic schools. In many ways, the model is a management model and the lay board and the Catholic schools office is responsible for day-to-day operations.
Snyder discusses the challenges and the role of the pastors in this new model. 34 of the 36 elementary schools are under the model with the two exceptions being schools with veteran pastors with high-functioning leadership structures.
For the two diocesan high schools, they use a policy governance model based on Carver’s policy leadership model. Each of the schools uses a president-principal model. Snyder explains how policy works in terms of governance. He talks about the implications toward developing common systems and more efficient operations.
Trying to find ways to measure the success of governance was explored and Snyder describes how the governance measures are building infrastructure (which he calls “means”) which he hopes will result in better “ends”–such as enrollment, fiscal sustainability, and faith formation.
Here is the link again to this great episode.