Meet the woman helping educate the next generation of Catholic school leaders

Dr. Pamela Patnode has been the director of The Saint Paul Seminary Institute for Catholic School Leadership since the summer of 2021. Before that, she served as dean of women and humanities instructor at Chesterton Academy, a classical, Catholic high school with multiple locations in the Twin Cities. She is a Benedictine Oblate and has five children, with one grandchild on the way. Learn more about Catholic school leadership and Dr. Patnode in the following Q&A:

Why is Catholic education so important, particularly in this day and age?

We need good Catholic schools, and our schools need strong leaders who are both formed in the Catholic faith and well-prepared so that they can navigate the waters of this cultural climate while leading their students to Christ and high academic achievement.

What is the Institute for Catholic School Leadership’s Certificate in Catholic School Leadership, and what might one do with it after completing this program?

The Certificate for Catholic School Leadership is a graduate-level program that was developed in deep collaboration with the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, and the Saint Paul Seminary here at the University of St. Thomas. Participants in the program represent Catholic schools, public schools, dual immersion schools, and the participants are both religious and lay teachers, deans, vice principals and principals. The Catholic School Leadership Certificate program prepares leaders and aspiring leaders of Catholic schools to direct their schools with conviction in their Catholic faith and with the knowledge and skills necessary.

Where are you from?

Although I grew up in Minnesota, I have had the privilege of living with families in Mexico and Spain during my high school and college years.

What is your area of specialty?

I make excellent caramel bars. In addition, my focus is Catholic education with an emphasis on students who struggle in school including those with diagnosed learning disabilities, those with mental health challenges, and Hispanic/Latino English language learners.

How did you discover your vocation as an educator?

I originally worked in advertising before staying home with our children. When God called us to home educate our children, I became immersed in the world of education and discovered that I loved it.

Who makes up your family?

My husband and I have five children who are now young adults. Two of our children are married, we have a grandchild on the way, and another daughter getting married this spring―so the family is growing.

What can we find you doing on the weekends?

I love to spend time with my family ― especially playing card games. In addition, I like to travel, to spend time with my parents at their cabin, to read, and to go for walks/hikes with my husband.

St. Aquinas or St. Augustine?

Augustine. As a Benedictine oblate, however, I also want to give a shout out to St. Benedict.

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