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Restructuring Catholic High School’s Administration Using The President Principal Model

1659 words - 7 pages

Catholic High Schools in the United States look very different than they did in the years before the Second Vatican Council, 1962-1965, changed the face of the Catholic Church all over the world. One of the most noticeable changes that has taken place is that the schools are now predominantly run and staffed by lay, non-religious, persons. The most significant reasons for this change are the decline in religious vocations since the Second Vatican Council as well as the retirement of the religious men and women who ran and taught in the schools for so many years. Another major change in Catholic High Schools since the 1960’s is that there are fewer of them now, with more being closed or consolidated each year. In 2007 there were 672,426 students enrolled in 1350 Catholic High Schools, whereas there were over 2000 High Schools less than 15 years ago (USCCB). Catholic Schools are also attended by a much different population today; in the past the students were almost all Catholic and paid very little, if any, tuition. Today a good majority of students in Catholic High Schools would not consider themselves to be Catholic and tuition now averages $7500 (USCCB). One final, and significant, change in Catholic High Schools is in the organization of the front office. No longer is one brother or sister in charge as principal, many schools have adopted an administrative model where a President, a Principal, and other directors and administrators share the task of running a school. The focus of this paper will be on the various roles assigned to each position, the need to have a separation of roles, and the necessity of this new model in a new era of Catholic education in the United States.
Beginning in 1992 the National Catholic Educators Association (NCEA) began to notice that approximately 20% of the high schools in the United States had “an administrative structure in which the chief executive officer is identified as ‘president’” (Guerra, p. 7). Recent data suggests that 53% of all Catholic High Schools now use the president/principal model and that another 14% anticipate changing to this model in the next few years (Urbancic, 2005). In the Archdiocese of Boston, data was collected on twenty-nine different high schools to determine their administrative model. Twelve of the schools (41%) had both a president and a principal while another five (17%) employed a model with a headmaster and a principal. These numbers are consistent with national numbers and suggest that this trend is continuing to be seen all across the country. The main reason for the move to this new model is the recognition that all of the responsibilities of running a successful high school that needs to both interact with the outside world in terms of fund raising and public relations and internally function as an educational institution cannot be properly handled by one person, the principal. Because of this the position of president (or in some cases, headmaster) was added to the...

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