The Certificate in Catholic School Leadership is a graduate-level certificate that provides both the theoretical knowledge and practical skills needed to form effective leaders of Catholic schools. Through its integration of the foundational principles of the Catholic faith and the competencies to run complex, non-profit institutions in the twenty-first century, the certificate program prepares individuals to be successful leaders in schools tasked with the formation and education of the next generation of faithful disciples.
The 2024 Catholic School Leadership cohort begins Thursday, June 20 and runs through Friday, June 28 (8:00am-5:00pm).
Fall and spring classes are held in an online format.
The program goals of the Certificate in Catholic School Leadership are:
- Develop school leaders grounded in the Catholic intellectual tradition, who are faithful disciples of Christ and credible witnesses of the faith
- Develop school leaders capable of nurturing and sustaining the Catholic ethos, identity, and character of a Catholic educational institution
- Develop school leaders with the practical skills necessary to manage complex, non-profit educational institutions effectively and successfully in the twenty-first century
The Certificate in Catholic School Leadership consists of a 14-month program of study that spans two consecutive summers and the intervening school year. Summer courses (two per summer) are delivered in a traditional format, utilizing in-person instruction within a classroom context over a two-week session in June. Courses during the academic year (one each in the fall and spring semesters) are delivered online, and accompanied by a supervised mentoring experience to develop and improve the leadership skills of current and future Catholic school leaders.
Seven required courses, totaling 19 credit hours, are offered sequentially in a cohort model:
- DVDT 510: Fundamentals of the Catholic Faith for Catholic School Leaders (3 credits)
- This course presents the essential elements of the Catholic tradition. Through an examination of both primary and secondary texts, students will investigate the Church’s understanding of the human person, natural and divine revelation, reason and faith, the role of education in the Church, sacred tradition, Church doctrine, prayer, the sacraments, and Catholic social teaching’s engagement with the broader culture.
- DVPT 575: Leading for Catholic Mission I (3 credits)
- Centered on the core principles of mission and ministry of Catholic education, this course introduces students to leadership practices required to shape and direct Catholic schools with the mind of the Church. Focus areas include: contemplative leadership; mission focused strategic planning; communication strategies; the development of school culture; ongoing faith education for faculty, staff, and parents; leading within diversity and diverse learners; and continuous improvement.
- DVPT 670: Applied Catholic School Leadership (2 credits)
- In this course, each student is paired with an experienced Catholic school leader who provides on-site mentorship to the student at a Catholic school throughout the academic year. This course allows students to apply the theoretical principles and strategies of Catholic school leadership presented in their coursework to real situations in the Catholic school in order to increase the effectiveness of their practice as a Catholic school leader. Students gain valuable experience in the Catholic school and immediate support for this demanding role. Periodic online class meetings provide an opportunity for students to reflect on their experiences, challenges, and goals in light of the mentorship experience.
- DVHS 620: The History, Philosophy, and Mission of the Catholic School (3 credits)
- This course introduces students to the origins and philosophical principles that have defined the mission and purpose of Western and Catholic education, both in approach and content, over the course of history from Classical Greece to present day United States. Reading the key texts that have shaped the course of educational history, students will investigate when and why Catholic education has diverged from modern philosophies of education. Additionally, the course examines the historic and current role of the Catholic school in society and within the Church through a careful reading and discussion of Church documents on education.
- DVPT 609: Catholic Schools and School Law (3 credits)
- This course equips students with the necessary practical tools for Catholic school leaders to navigate the complexities of the law as it applies to both private and Catholic schools. From the Code of Canon Law to local, state, and federal statutes and regulations, this course includes instruction on all levels of the law while maintaining a core focus on employment law and school-related law for the distinct mission and ministry of Catholic education. Beginning with a broad understanding of law as articulated by St. Thomas Aquinas, and then moving on to practical implications of underlying principles and practices, the course applies legal reasoning and Catholic moral teaching as it examines student-handbooks, hiring practices, employeehandbooks, and legal issues in light of specific cases that typically arise in Catholic schools.
- DVPT 607: Non-Profit Leadership for Catholic School Leaders (2 credits)
- This course prepares Catholic school leaders to manage their non-profit, Catholic organizations, while introducing future leaders to core business principles and Catholic moral requirements, precisely as an exercise in ecclesial ministry. With a focus on efficient and organizationally sound managerial practices in an educational environment, students learn the theoretical insights and techniques appropriate in the mission focused, ministry-minded “small business environment” of a local Catholic school. Areas of emphasis include: planning; mission leadership; staff development; budget and finances; communications; marketing; relationship management; and problem solving within school, parish, and Archdiocesan communities.
- DVPT 675: Leading for Catholic Mission II (3 credits)
- Continuing a focus on the core principles of mission and ministry of Catholic education, this course prepares students with the leadership practices required to shape and direct Catholic schools with the mind of the Church. Focus areas include: the core competencies of Catholic school leadership; Catholic school culture; contemplative leadership; the development, supervision, and evaluation of academic excellence; and organizational leadership including hiring practices, stakeholder relationships, conflict management, and time management.
- To develop school leaders grounded in the Catholic intellectual tradition, who are faithful disciples of Christ and credible witnesses of the faith
- To develop school leaders capable of nurturing and sustaining the Catholic ethos, identity, and character of a Catholic educational institution
- To develop school leaders with the practical skills necessary to manage complex, non-profit educational institutions effectively and successfully in the twenty-first century
As a specialized ministry of the Church, leadership of Catholic schools is entrusted to those who have been adequately and thoroughly formed in the faith. Formation for ministry attends to the whole human person, focusing on the development of the human, spiritual, intellectual, and pastoral attributes necessary for effective ministry that gives authentic witness to the transformative power and love of Christ.
The Certificate in Catholic School Leadership is much more than an academic program. Co-curricular components provide opportunities for personal and spiritual growth, and the development of the practical skills needed to realize the vision and mission of Catholic education. An opening retreat, times for private and communal prayer, the celebration of the Liturgy of the Hours and daily Mass, along with opportunities for spiritual direction and theological reflection are essential elements of an integrated and holistic formation program that prepares participants to become the catechetical and spiritual leaders of their local schools. Striving to respond faithfully to the universal call to holiness, Catholic school leaders endeavor to conform their hearts and minds to the will of God, so that they might be more credible witnesses of the faith as they manifest and model the love of Christ for their students, faculty colleagues, and the families and communities they serve.
Participants in the certificate program form a community of disciples in which they learn from and support one another, both during their time of study and throughout the subsequent years of their professional lives. In-person formation at The Saint Paul Seminary School of Divinity nurtures the bonds of community through shared meals, communal worship, time for socializing and recreation, and ample occasions to collaborate with colleagues on course assignments and projects. The program’s cohort model forges and strengthens the personal relationships and professional networks that school leaders often rely on to weather the challenges and difficulties of their careers.
A student who completes the Catholic School Leadership graduate certificate is already halfway toward earning a Master of Arts in Pastoral Leadership graduate degree from the Saint Paul Seminary School of Divinity. To learn how to apply certificate credits toward the MAPL degree, please contact Recruitment and Student Services Coordinator Rosalinda Romportl at firstname.lastname@example.org.