Three new principals and two teachers in the Diocese of Little Rock are beginning their paths toward earning master’s degree in Catholic school leadership through St. Louis University.
The special opportunity will allow four of the educators to take the courses virtually, similar to Skype, using the facilities and technology already installed at the House of Formation in Little Rock. Those participating along with eight educators from dioceses in Oklahoma City and Dallas are Mary Kay Jones, the new principal at Blessed Sacrament School in Jonesboro; Rebecca Kaelin, the new principal at St. Boniface School in Fort Smith; Jared Schluterman, a science teacher at Subiaco Academy; and Sarah Wendel, a fourth-grade teacher at Christ the King School in Little Rock. Alice Stautzenberger, the new principal at St. Vincent de Paul School in Rogers, will be attending the classes on campus.
The 33-hour program includes 11 three-hour courses beginning Aug. 26. One or two Saturdays a month the students will meet off-site or on campus from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Vernell Bowen, superintendent for the Diocese of Little Rock, said, “The program is being offered to provide quality Catholic leadership courses for those who are in principal positions or who are discerning their call for future leadership positions. My goal for implementing a program like this is also for succession plan to ensure we have quality leaders for the future.”
Bowen said the diocese worked with the University of Dallas over the years to offer master’s degrees in education, but the instructors came to St. John Center in Little Rock to teach the courses. The UD option is no longer available so the Diocese of Little Rock looked for another programs from a Catholic college in the area. The SLU program is the first time the diocese is offering a master’s degree program virtually.
Bowen said it is important for the educators to be exposed to a master’s degree program that is sensitive to the issues and needs of Catholic leaders.
“This program infuses the Catholic identity into the courses,” Bowen said of SLU.
The educators are expected to complete the program in two years by attending fall, spring and summer semesters. This fall the students will be taking one course from Dr. Karen Tichy called “Building Level Curriculum” and another courses from Dr. John James, program administrator at SLU, called “Foundations of Administration.”
Bowen said the educators will be paying about $13,500 to earn their master’s degree, or about $1,200 for one three-hour course. Bowen said the educator’s school or parish might choose to assist them with some of their expenses.
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