Superintendent Eaton’s message to educators: Be Boldly Catholic
Superintendent of Catholic Schools Janet Eaton had one phrase for her principals, school pastors, and new teachers as they began a new school year: Be Boldly Catholic.
“It’s one thing to be in love with your faith, it is another thing as a leader in our Catholic church and Catholic schools to show others that you have a love for Jesus Christ.”
The faithful are looking for role models, she said, adding that praying with a teacher, parent, or student is all part of the role. “The faithful need to see their leaders on their knees praying, leading others to prayer, and building up the kingdom of God in a time when there are so many forces coming against us.”
The meetings held in the first week of August set the pace for the year, she said. “Now it’s the leadership of the school that takes over the reins. We were able to offer numerous points of what we’re going to be working on this year to the principals and the pastors.”
A new school year is as exciting for her as it is for students, Eaton said.
“I count myself so lucky to be in education because in most careers you don’t have a ‘new’ every time you turn around. And with a new assistant superintendent, we’re able to put our priorities in different areas.”
Schmitz joins CSO
Eaton said Kristin Schmitz, the former principal of the School of the Magdalen in Wichita, began work as assistant superintendent this summer. Schmitz joins Dr. Jamie Finkeldei, associate superintendent.
The two have outlined priorities of recruiting teachers, providing professional development, marketing, and curriculum development, allowing Eaton’s main focus to be that Catholic identity, working with the pastors, principals, and parents, and overseeing finances.
“We’re so privileged to work in Catholic education and to be able to move kids from one grade to the next to the next – all about their love for Jesus Christ. There’s energy with our new teachers this year. There is a renewed energy among our administrators. I would hope that our families are excited for the new year.”
Visited all the schools
Eaton said she traveled last spring to each of the Diocese of Wichita’s 38 schools and is proud and thankful for how they are taking on apostolic ministry. “In the high schools, the Kairos retreats, peer ministry, and the incorporation of campus minister positions will continue to drive the effort to bring Jesus Christ to the students.”
She said she understood how parishes are working to provide a family wage for their teachers, and how a school adds financial obligations, and thanked the pastors for their support of Catholic education. “The benefit sometimes is not felt until many years later.”
Addressing the need for teachers
One of the other challenges felt by schools throughout the region is a teacher shortage, Eaton said. She added that Schmitz is planning to speak to prospective teachers in Kansas and Oklahoma colleges in her recruitment efforts.