FALL RIVER — In order for Catholic schools to continue to thrive and be strengthened for the future, the leaders of Catholic schools need to be able to think strategically more than ever. Future Catholic school leaders are required to learn how to build coherence, manage resistance, and foster relationships during a time when Catholic education is undergoing revolutionary change. Most importantly, Catholic school leaders must have a commitment to the vocation of leading that requires “special qualities of mind and heart, very careful preparation, and continued readiness to renew and adapt” (Pope Paul VI, 1965, #5).
On May 22, Catholic school leaders from around the country graduated from the post-graduate Catholic Leadership Cohort as part of the Boston College’s Roche Center for Catholic Education. Five of the 16 graduates are from the Diocese of Fall River: Matthew Bourque, principal of St. Mary Catholic School in Mansfield; Charlotte Lourenco, principal of St. Mary-Sacred Heart School in North Attleboro; Kelly Gomez and Jacob Curren from Bishop Feehan High School in Attleboro; and Dorothy Mahoney-Pacheco from Holy Trinity School in Fall River. Dorothy Mahoney-Pacheco also received “The Magis Award” at the graduate award ceremony.
“The Catholic Leadership Cohort provides emerging leaders a diverse set of skills to effectively lead and transform their school communities,” said Molly McMahon, PhD, Program Director of Leadership Development. “This select group of Catholic leaders take courses over 20 months to obtain their Master’s in Educational Leadership and Policy. This program covers four key domain areas: Mission and Catholic Identity, Governance and Leadership, Academic Excellence, and Operational Vitality. This program is rooted in the Ignatian Tradition which challenges leaders to be humble, adaptable, joyful, visionary, joyful and attentive.”
According to Matthew Bourque, principal of St. Mary Catholic School in Mansfield, “The Catholic Leadership Cohort equipped me with the skills and mindset to be a strong and visionary Catholic leader, and I am blessed to have had the opportunity to work with and learn from this wonderful group of leaders from around the country. The pandemic and our school’s response to the challenges it has brought have confirmed the continued need for robust and vibrant Catholic leadership at our schools. Families have high expectations of their children’s education as well as their faith formation, and this program reinforces and hones the skills Catholic school leaders need to ensure our schools meet and exceed these ever-changing expectations.”
Diocesan Superintendent of Catholic Schools, Daniel S. Roy, added, “We are so proud of these school leaders who have dedicated their time and energy to achieve this very unique certification. Our goal at the diocesan level is to develop a pipeline of emerging school leaders, and programs such as this one clearly provide the education and skill development for our leaders.”
The launch of the Lynch School of Education and Human Development Catholic Leadership Cohort addresses the urgent need for strong leadership at Catholic schools. Participants are trained by respected faculty and leadership coaches to develop personal, interpersonal and organizational skills needed by every good leader.