Bonnie Milecki.  Rose O'Connor photo
Bonnie Milecki. Rose O'Connor photo

Throughout her two decade-long career in education, Bonnie Milecki has gained wide recognition as a visionary leader for her innovative and effective leadership work with students, faculty and administration.

Her career has run the gamut of Catholic, public and independent schools in elementary, middle, high school and college classrooms as both a teacher and administrator. Through it, she’s developed a track record for creating programs and successful initiatives that focus on building a strong sense of community.

As this school year opens, Milecki, serving as new associate director of school development and operations, said she’s looking forward to expanding that record in the diocesan Department of Catholic Schools working in collaboration with superintendent Dr. Vincent de Paul Schmidt and the staff (administration). His positive vision of Catholic school community, she said, overlapped with a lot of her experience and skill set, making it an inspirational career move.

Duties in her new position, under the supervision of the superintendent, will include implementing strategic priorities, securing non-public school funding from the district, state and federal government, supporting school boards and PTA development and coordinating the re-accreditation process.

She has described the sense of Catholic school community “proudly” in her background information, noting that she is a product of K-12 education in the Diocese of Trenton, having attended (the now closed) Incarnation School, Ewing; Villa Victoria Academy, Ewing, and Notre Dame High School, Lawrenceville, where as an alumni, she taught English and film for 15 years.

Milecki holds a master’s of educational management leadership and policy from Seton Hall University, South Orange, among her many academic accomplishments. She and her family are longtime members of St. Ann Parish, Lawrenceville, where she is a parishioner and reader and member of the Magdalene Circle at the Center for FaithJustice.

After two years of working under the “safe but separated” mandates of the pandemic, Milecki said she was excited by the possibility of all the schools “coming back together” as a community, “making sure we are utilizing the gifts and talents of all the schools we have together.”

One of the initial ways that effort will get underway is with a program recently developed as the Catholic Leadership Academy meant to assist the cohort of 12 new principals as they begin their journeys, she said.

“It’s meant to support them, creating opportunities for them to grow together. Some are new to the role of principal. Some are new to the Diocese and some are just new to schools. But each has perspectives that can enhance the success of the others.

“Within the leadership academy,” she said, “they will have the opportunity to focus on topics that are unique to Catholic school leadership and we will be asking our seasoned leaders to advise them.”

“Additionally, we’ll be focusing on future leaders of our schools,” she said. “To that end, we’ve invited schools to recommend aspiring leaders, most of whom would be in graduate programs, to join the leadership group. We have amazing teachers in this Diocese, and we want to show them they can develop those skills here.”