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Teachers and administrators learn Catholic school leadership

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The 17th year of the Catholic School Leadership Program at Marymount University in Arlington began July 10 with Mass celebrated by Arlington Bishop Michael F. Burbidge.

Sister, Servant of the Immaculate Heart of Mary Patricia Helene Earl, program director, said in addition to preparing participants for an administrative role, they receive an understanding of the history and mission of Catholic education.

“We try to give them a lot of formation in the faith so that they can be not only educational leaders but spiritual leaders of the school along with the pastor,” she said.

During his homily, Bishop Burbidge gave the educators five words to help them walk through the next two weeks of classes — recall, relax, rejoice, persevere and pray.

“Recall in your own life when you first had that inclination that God would be calling you to this beautiful vocation as a Catholic educator and what it was that excited you about this and the zeal that you felt,” he said. “Recall that and reclaim it because when we do so, we are always reminded that what the Lord is asking us to do is not a burden. It is a great privilege.”

The bishop told the educators to relax and be reminded that they have been situated in a sacred space, to rejoice in the unity represented and persevere in all the good that they hope to accomplish. He told the educators to pray.

“We heard a beautiful invitation from Jesus in the (July 9) Gospel — Come to me all you who labor and who are burdened,” he said. “In the midst of your coursework, Jesus is repeating that invitation to you.”

There are 34 students divided into two groups from 13 states and Bermuda that meet for two weeks during the summer and online during the course of two years. Sister Earl said there are 12 Arlington diocesan educators in the program this year.

Kyla Hockley, an admissions counselor at Lancaster Catholic High School in Lancaster, Pa., is beginning her first year in the program. She said she always had a heart for Catholic education. “I have gone from classroom work to administration and recognize that there are some gaps in information I needed to know. I wanted to be well prepared for the future of my career,” she said. “It is an awesome opportunity to be with Catholic educators from all across the country and to be with people who are really committed to making sure Catholic education is around for the long haul.”

Barbara Dalmut, principal of St. Bernadette School in Springfield, is a professor in the program and also a graduate.

“My class has fabulous candidates and more people who are already working in administration looking to become principals,” she said. “The program really shaped the way I approached being a principal.”

In her seventh year as principal, she said learned the importance of teaching the faith and teaching teachers why they do what they do.

“The church gives us great instruction as to what Catholic schools are supposed to be accomplishing,” she said. “A lot of times we just go through the motions but (the program) rekindles that mission and zeal.”

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2017