Scott Powell, IB assistant coordinatore and history teacher at Cardinal Newman Catholic High School, graduated in July from the University of Notre Dame with a master's degree in Educational Leadership through the Remick program. (COURTESY)

Catholic school educators learn about leadership

West Palm Beach  |  While many Catholic school students enjoyed their well-deserved summer vacation, school administrators continued to work towards something greater by furthering their professional development through higher learning. 

Scott Powell, IB assistant coordinator and history teacher at Cardinal Newman Catholic High School in West Palm Beach, and Mindy Miller, assistant principal at John Carroll Catholic High School in Fort Pierce, graduated this July with master’s degrees in educational leadership from the University of Notre Dame.  

Through a new directive implemented in the last five years, the Diocese of Palm Beach has sought to support the higher education of Catholic school administrators to invest in the future of Catholic education. Powell and Miller participated in a 25-month master’s degree program through the Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE) Mary Ann Remick Leadership Program, made possible through university scholarships and diocesan assistance. The Remick program consisted of online courses and a four-week intensive during the 2018 and 2019 summers on-site at the University of Notre Dame. Classes centered on issues that many Catholic schools face such as social and emotional learning, enrollment, retention and the application of faith in academics. Powell said the program addressed what it meant to be a Catholic school leader among the pressures of a secular society. 

“Since stepping into an administrative role as the IB assistant coordinator, I’ve wanted to explore more opportunities in school administration,” he added. “The Remick program was incredibly challenging. I appreciated that it focused on Catholic education as a spiritual component to student success, not just in academics but in life beyond the classroom.” 

Miller described the program as a “total immersion program in the faith.” 

“The Remick program showed us how Catholic schools can be a force of change in the community when administrators are equipped with the right knowledge and tools,” she said. “Everything about our studies was intentional. We had an executive coach available as a resource and an assigned prayer partner from our peers that we could lean on during the programs challenges.”

The program included an immersion experience where the degree candidates visit successful Catholic schools in a select U.S. city with underserved populations. Miller and Powell visited inner city schools in New York. Miller said it was amazing to witness the impact of “strong Catholic leadership” in the schools. Powell appreciated the ability to collaborate with fellow Catholic educators and “compare ideas on how to approach leadership in Catholic schools.”

“It was incredibly beneficial, and I will definitely be applying what I’ve learned to my role at Cardinal Newman,” he added. 

Both Powell and Miller attribute their success in receiving master’s degrees to the Diocese of Palm Beach’s personal investment in their futures. 

“I hesitated at first to seek out another degree because of the cost,” Miller said. “But the diocese was incredibly supportive of the work and in me as an educator; that’s invaluable to know as I develop a future career path in education leadership.” 

Powell and Miller are the 16th cohort to graduate from the University of Notre Dame through the Remick program. Their cohort is also the largest to date with 44 future Catholic school leaders from all over the country in kindergarten through grade eight, and high school levels. Corey Heroux, principal of John Carroll Catholic High School in Fort Pierce, is also a graduate from the Remick program. Kristopher Takahashi, director of communications services at St. Anastasia Catholic School in Fort Pierce, will graduate from the program in the summer of 2020.