Coming into the new school year, things are starting to change as the school is making progress towards a more advanced and promising future. The faculty and staff have collaborated to create new leadership teams to help make decisions on major and small issues circling around the school.
It was decided that teachers and faculty around the school were not getting enough say in decisions being made leadership committees. In meetings last summer, President Dr. Bob Tift said, “This summer, as a plan, if we could start all over as a new school and create new team teams based on feedback from constituent groups, what would they be?”
With the feedback from the rest of the faculty and staff, four groups or councils were formed along with a Visioning Forum. These four groups were the President’s Council, the smaller Executive President’s Council, the Senior High Academic Council, and the Junior High Academic Council. “We wanted, instead of making decisions as a small group, to make decisions as a larger group with more constituents,” said Dr. Tift.
The President’s Council consists of many different leaders, including Dr. Tift and the Vice Presidents in the Advancement, Finance, Faith Formation, and Athletic departments. Along with these people there are two different faculty reps for the high school, these being Ms. Katie McDonald and Mr. Tom Backen, and staff reps Ms. Jo Koenig and Mrs. Kathy Jacobson, who were chosen by the faculty and staff.
The committees now have more say in a lot of the decisions as Dr. Tift is playing a more democratic power. “We have three ways of making decisions, first, I can make decisions by myself, secondly, I bring the decision to the group with my own veto power, and third, I can deny myself the veto power and give the group the power to decide and make rules and important plans for the school. The group is bigger now and we are allowed to make more decisions as a whole, rather than a very minor and small group,” said Dr. Tift.
The Senior High Academic Council (SHAC) is made up of all the department chairs, the Diversity Director, Technology Director, Campus Minister, Librarian, and the Guidance Counselor, along with Dr. Sue Skinner. Meeting on the fourth Tuesday of the month, they make decisions about the school and bring them up to the President’s council. “The change is now intentional to bring more people to the table and get their input. Decisions you make should have more than just teachers input, but also include more staff members as well. I like to call the group the SHAC attack,” said Dr. Skinner
To include the whole faculty and staff, the administration created the Visioning Forum. This forum is coordinated by Mr. Steve Pohlen and the chair is rotated based on the topic. All the faculty and staff are invited to attend and give their own opinion on issues. It is placed in the library and is there for the teachers to combine all their ideas and present their ideas over a powerpoint and a projector screen. Mr. Pohlen said, “So far we have been successful and gotten a lot of participation among the different teachers and departments, as well as the staff.”
Dr. Skinner said, “At these forums, the issues don’t have to be pressing and hot, sometimes they can be the minor issues that are always looked over. These forums are supposed to award and honor the members of the faculty and staff and are there to look at the big picture rather than the here and now.”
Overall, Dr. Skinner and Dr. Tift are extremely happy about the change. “So far it has been successful, but we will need to give it time before we can assess how it is working,” said Dr. Tift.