Beginning in fall 2022, Saint Mary’s University is launching a 15-credit graduate certificate in Catholic school leadership through its new Christ the Teacher program — a joint initiative between the university and the Diocese of Winona-Rochester to support Catholic school teachers in the diocese who are interested in furthering their education.

The Graduate Certificate in Catholic School Leadership is an innovative, cohort-based program to be delivered both online and in person from Saint Mary’s Minneapolis Campus. It is designed for full-time educators who aspire to serve as future leaders in Catholic education. With formative courses and ongoing mentorship, students gain a foundation from which to imagine how the commitments of the Catholic faith are lived in the context of Catholic education.

Students will consider the most crucial issues facing educators today from a Catholic perspective to better engage their students, colleagues, families, and community. Over the course of the program, students develop a long-term project that integrates theory and practice.

A distinctive aspect of this program is that students are paired with an experienced Catholic school leader who serves as a mentor. The mentor assists the learner in their exploration of theory, theology, and practice through application and experience. Faculty members for the graduate program will include leaders in Catholic education from across the country.

This certificate is appropriate for both current and aspiring teachers, leaders, and administrators as a credential on top of previous graduate work or a means to explore pathways for future graduate education or credentials. For students seeking to earn a master’s degree, all 15 credits of the graduate certificate program can be applied to the M.A. in Education (30 credits) allowing students to earn their degree in as little as two years.

Scholarships may be available to teachers from the Diocese of Winona-Rochester. For more information and details on how to apply, go to https://www.smumn.edu/academics/graduate/education/catholic-school-leadership-certificate

“Catholic dioceses need quality teacher preparation, as they play such a crucial role,” said the Most Rev. John M. Quinn, Bishop of Winona-Rochester. “Saint John Baptist de La Salle founded the Brothers to be teachers, and Saint Mary’s continues this tradition of preparing faith-based educational leaders today.”

“We believe that launching a program dedicated to the formation of Catholic school leaders is essential for the future vitality of Catholic schools in the state and beyond,” said Father James P. Burns, IVD, Ph.D., Saint Mary’s president. “This program is aligned with our mission as a Lasallian Catholic university and our reputation for educational leader preparation in our school of education. We intend this program to be relevant to the needs of today’s school leaders as well as infused with the best treasures of Catholic education.”

Photo caption: Pictured are, from left: front, the Very Rev. James P. Burns, IVD, Ph.D., Saint Mary’s president; the Most Rev. John M. Quinn, AFSC, D.D., Bishop of Diocese of Winona-Rochester; Marsha Stenzel, superintendent of Catholic schools; back, Andrew Brannon, chief operating officer, chief finance officer for the diocese; Ann Merchlewitz, J.D., senior vice president and general counsel at Saint Mary’s; Michael Hahn, assistant dean of education at Saint Mary’s; Christine Gregory, coordinator of curriculum and assessment; and Peter Martin, director of communications for the diocese.

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