BRAINTREE, MA (March 2019): Fourteen aspiring leaders and four apprentice principals recently gathered to learn how Catholic schools’ finances contribute to their operational vitality.
Catholic Schools Office Associate Superintendent of Leadership and Mission Effectiveness Daniel Roy organized the event. He said, “Catholic school finance is an area identified by aspiring and new school leaders as one for which they often do not have prior knowledge or preparation. This is an area of need, as it is not typically covered in graduate school leadership programs.”
Catholic Schools Office Director of School Finance Martha Hultzman presented to the aspiring leaders and apprentice principals. Hultzman, who started at the Catholic Schools Office in 2018, was formerly the director in a CPA firm for many years, and was the company lead for non-profit organizations, including schools.
She said, “One of the themes was of principals as financial stewards. Financial stewardship focuses on the financial health of a school both today and in the future in order to deliver on the mission of Catholic education. I found this group to be energetic, analytical, and insightful.”
During the session, Hultzman introduced and discussed common financial terms and then the attendees analyzed sample budgets in small groups followed by a whole-group debrief.
Meaghan Roach, a teacher in the social studies department at Archbishop Williams High School in Braintree, is an aspiring leader who attended the sessions on financial literacy. She said, “It was interesting to look at a budget summary and consider all the elements that need to be balanced to make a Catholic school successful. It is important to plan budgets out well, but often variables such as enrollment or facility maintenance can be unpredictable.”
Jillian Boudreau, lower school dean of students at the Academy of Notre Dame in Tyngsboro, was also at the meeting. She said, “Martha explained every financial term clearly, but also provided real school examples of each term, allowing me to make connections to my school. In addition, the group activity of reviewing a sample school budget provided us the opportunity to collaborate and really delve into what the responsibility of reviewing a budget entails. I learned ideas of what to look for in a budget, what questions to ask in reviewing one, and how to best organize so it is clear and straightforward.”
This program is one of nine monthly in-person meetings during the school year that is designed to introduce and train aspiring leaders in topics that are essential in the successful administration of a school. Each meeting is complemented by a virtual meeting held beforehand during which participants prepare via assigned readings and discussions with school administration. The next session, which takes place in April, will focus on family and community engagement.