Vincentian Center Resources Benefit Catholic School Principals
Committed to using its resources to benefit others, the Vincentian Center for Church and Society at St. John’s University collaborated with the The Peter J. Tobin College of Business to present the second of three seminars offered this semester to help Catholic school principals strengthen their managerial and marketing skills.
The 23 attendees considered topics such as accountability, Catholic identity, human resources, legal issues, marketing, strategic planning, mission and values. The most recent daylong session took place on March 21 at the Queens, NY, campus. The next workshop will be held on April 30.
Recent Catholic school closings have persuaded many principals to strengthen their skills at marketing and development, said Margaret John Kelly, D.C., Ph.D., Executive Director of the Vincentian Center. Sponsored by The School of Education’s Institute for Catholic Schools, the program was launched in 2010 for principals who want to update their skills as well as those who are new to their posts. “We want to assist them in getting up-to-speed as quickly as possible,” said Sr. Margaret John.
Several St. John’s faculty members have volunteered their time to make the seminars a success. This semester, instructors include Joan Ball, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Marketing; Larry Boone, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Marketing, Cynthia R. Phillips, Ed.D., Assistant Professor of Accounting and Taxation; and Mary Ann Dantuono, J.D., Associate Director of the Vincentian Center. ’77SVC, Assistant Director of Development, leads sessions on fundraising and development.
The inspiration for offering management training to Catholic school principals emerged from the Center’s success with similar programs for church leaders. “As far back as 1995,” said Dantuono, “we were making this training available to priests because more young clergy were being asked to assume administrative posts. Since then, the Center has expanded its curriculum to also accommodate seminarians, pastors, deacons and priests.”
She noted that one of the Center’s highly regarded publications, A Concise Guide to Catholic Management, serves as a textbook for those audiences. Published in 2010 by Ave Maria Press, the guide is considered mandatory reading for church and lay leaders.
Participants quickly put the skills they learn to use in managing and promoting their institutions. For example, Joan McMaster, Principal of Our Lady of Grace School in Brooklyn, NY, described the seminars as an invaluable resource. “I’ve already implemented the marketing strategies I learned about in our first workshop,” she said.
“All of our programs,” noted Sr. Margaret John, “are shaped by St.Vincent de Paul’s need-based philosophy. Like St.Vincent, when an urgent societal need is identified, our Center reviews its resources and then comes up with a sustainable solution.”