Starting in September, a new diocesanwide Catholic School Board will provide guidance and oversight on issues related to the Catholic schools of the Diocese of Rochester.
Anne Willkens Leach, diocesan superintendent of Catholic schools, said the board was formed in response to a recommendation from the Catholic schools task force Bishop Matthew H. Clark appointed in 2007. Willkens Leach told the Catholic Courier the new school board is a positive development.
"We are thrilled to have assembled such a talented and dedicated group of community members who are committed to strengthening the future of Catholic education in the Diocese of Rochester," Willkens Leach said.
The 15 members of the new school board were appointed by Bishop Clark after being nominated by their peers, Willkens Leach said.
"Letters were sent to a huge variety of members of our diocese, and those people were asked to consider nominating someone they felt was qualified to be on the board. Members from all regions were selected in order to have balanced membership," she said.
The new board members also come from a wide variety of backgrounds. Most of the board members are laypeople, with the exception of Father Robert Ring, pastor of Our Lady of the Lakes Catholic Community in the Finger Lakes, and Father Robert Werth, parochial vicar at Peace of Christ Parish in Rochester. The board also includes Ann Marie Deutsch, principal at St. Mary School in Canandaigua; Timothy Leahy, principal at Siena Catholic Academy; and Bernadette McClelland, principal at Holy Family Elementary School in Elmira.
The board members will sit on subcommittees — including a development subcommittee and regional finance committees, Willkens Leach said.
"The goal of the board is to review finances and involve parents and the greater diocesan community in marketing our schools so we can ensure viability," she said.
Board members will review the findings of subcommittees at quarterly meetings. The board members will choose officers and set term lengths at their upcoming September meeting, Willkens Leach said.