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Schools, university partner to train future principals

Catholic schools superintendent Jim Rigg, seated second from left, and St. Thomas University president David Armstrong, next to him, pose Jan. 8, 2023 with the 14 archdiocesan educators (standing) who make up the first cohort of students in the master's in educational leadership program for future Catholic school principals. With them are other university officials and the program's professors.

Photographer: COURTESY | STU

Catholic schools superintendent Jim Rigg, seated second from left, and St. Thomas University president David Armstrong, next to him, pose Jan. 8, 2023 with the 14 archdiocesan educators (standing) who make up the first cohort of students in the master's in educational leadership program for future Catholic school principals. With them are other university officials and the program's professors.

MIAMI | Partnering with St. Thomas University, the Office of Catholic Schools has launched a new leadership program for those aspiring to be principals in archdiocesan schools.

The program takes the existing master’s in school leadership offered by STU and creates a cohort-based program specifically for current Catholic school teachers who wish to be principals.

Some of the 14 archdiocesan educators who make up the first cohort of students in the master's in educational leadership program for future Catholic school principals pose with Donald Edwards, standing, associate superintendent of Catholic schools, during a kickoff event at St. Thomas University in Miami Gardens, Jan. 8, 2023.

Photographer: COURTESY | STU

Some of the 14 archdiocesan educators who make up the first cohort of students in the master's in educational leadership program for future Catholic school principals pose with Donald Edwards, standing, associate superintendent of Catholic schools, during a kickoff event at St. Thomas University in Miami Gardens, Jan. 8, 2023.

A cake wishes "blessings as you begin your journey" to the 14 archdiocesan educators who make up the first cohort of students in the master's in educational leadership program for future Catholic school principals. The kickoff event took place at St. Thomas University in Miami Gardens, Jan. 8, 2023.

Photographer: COURTESY | STU

A cake wishes "blessings as you begin your journey" to the 14 archdiocesan educators who make up the first cohort of students in the master's in educational leadership program for future Catholic school principals. The kickoff event took place at St. Thomas University in Miami Gardens, Jan. 8, 2023.

“Leadership is absolutely essential to the successful Catholic school, and I am always seeking to strengthen our pipeline to the principalship,” said Jim Rigg, archdiocesan superintendent of schools.

For approximately a year, Rigg and his team met with their counterparts at St. Thomas University to integrate Catholic content into their existing program. They also added two new courses that are entirely specific to Catholic schools.

Two thirds of participants’ tuition will be covered by scholarships: one-third from STU and one-third from the archdiocese, with the remaining third paid by each participant. In return, participants pledge to work for the archdiocese for at least three years following graduation.

“I was extremely surprised by the receptivity to this program. We publicized it throughout the summer and early fall. In the end, we had over 40 inquiries and accepted 14 individuals,” Rigg said.

The kickoff event took place Jan. 8, 2023, with the first cohort of students sharing a dinner at St. Thomas with university leaders including President David Armstrong, the program’s professors, Rigg, and associate schools superintendent Donald Edwards. Classes began that same week.

“It was a very positive event that included a blessing for participants,” Rigg said.

The 14 archdiocesan educators who make up the first cohort of students in the master's in educational leadership program for future Catholic school principals are recognized during a kickoff event at St. Thomas University in Miami Gardens, Jan. 8, 2023.

Photographer: COURTESY | STU

The 14 archdiocesan educators who make up the first cohort of students in the master's in educational leadership program for future Catholic school principals are recognized during a kickoff event at St. Thomas University in Miami Gardens, Jan. 8, 2023.


Comments from readers

Phyllis Superfisky, OSFCC - 01/19/2023 11:20 AM
So, happy to see this. As former Designer and Director of the Catholic Educational Leadership Program at Barry University, I applaud your insight to recognize the important need for this degree program! Wiashing you much success building up the Kingdom through education!