Family ‘lens’ adds new perspective to ‘back to school’

From the Super
Kathy O’Hara is the superintendent of archdiocesan schools.

by Kathy O’Hara

Dear friends of Catholic schools,

In my mind, there is nothing quite like the excitement of the beginning of a new school year. This year, I have had the joy of experiencing the beginning of the school year from new personal and professional perspectives.

From the personal perspective, we had two firsts with our grandkids — a freshman in high school joined his older sister at school, and a brand-new kindergartner started school as the oldest child in her family.

My son and daughter-in-law, who are the parents of the high schoolers, are veterans at this school thing, but my son and daughter-in-law with the kindergartner are “newbies” to this world.

It has been so much fun to observe all the emotions of the kids and grandkids, especially from my lens as an educator! I am so grateful that I have family members that keep me in tune with what it is like to be a parent and student today.

In the Catholic schools of the archdiocese, we have had “firsts” for more than 100 new teachers and counselors, as well as 15 school leaders. (Not all of the school leaders are new to our archdiocese; they are just new to a particular school.)

When we ask folks what has drawn them to our schools, teachers/counselors talk about being alums who want to be a part of their alma maters because their own school experiences were so positive.

School leaders talk about knowing and/or working with our current school leaders and desiring to lead and serve in the manner their colleagues have the opportunity to do.

All mention the blessing of being able to integrate their faith and professional lives.

After both our school leader kickoff and new teacher/counselor orientation, we heard so many positive comments about how inspiring and reaffirming the events were, which, in turn, inspire the staff in our office.

Speaking of the staff in our office, we welcome a new associate superintendent, Allison Carney. Allison takes the place of Dr. Ann Connor, who is now leading St. Paul School in Olathe.

Allison came to the school office from Holy Cross School in Overland Park, where she had served in many roles, most recently as principal. Allison’s focus will be on all matters related to curriculum and instruction, and we are confident that she will be of great service to the staffs in the schools.

By the time you read this, a little more than 10 percent of the school year will be concluded.

I pray that all of the excitement and smiling faces will still be present in our classrooms and hallways!

¡Vaya con Dios!

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