Villanova certification boosts school principals’ management acumen

April 5, 2023 at 3:24 p.m.
Villanova certification boosts school principals’ management acumen
Villanova certification boosts school principals’ management acumen

By EmmaLee Italia | Contributing Editor

Striving to build on management skills, 24 principals in Catholic schools in the Diocese recently took advantage of a certification program through a respected Catholic institution.

The chance to earn a certificate for Catholic school management from Villanova University was offered free of charge to all Catholic school principals in the Diocese over the past year.

“Catholic school management is an important part of what we’re trying to accomplish – we partnered with [Villanova] and saw very positive results,” said Dr. Vincent de Paul Schmidt, diocesan Catholic schools superintendent, who invited the program participants to an informal reception Feb. 28 at the diocesan Chancery to celebrate their accomplishment.

The certification was sponsored jointly by the Eli Lilly company and the Diocese of Trenton’s Office of Catholic Schools and features 12 business modules covering such topics as human resources, budgeting, contracts and much more. Some principals are still finishing the certification, and still more have just begun the program this year.

“If it’s a topic around school operations, it was in there,” Dr. Schmidt said. “When people come to the administration of Catholic schools, many times they are former teachers who don’t necessarily have a business degree. If they come from a state school … they don’t necessarily have some of the elements that make a Catholic school unique, such as fundraising and development – and we have a responsibility to that.”

Christopher McCarrick, principal of Holy Cross Academy, Rumson, finished the program in December. “I thought it would be an excellent program for my growth and success as a building leader,” he said. “I believe in continuous professional development and this program helped reinforce best practices in leadership and ground my role as principal in our faith and Catholic identity.”

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Leading a fiscally responsible and thriving school was one of the goals of the principal certification program, noted Marissa Marcile, diocesan Department of Catholic Schools’ coordinator and financial analyst, Department of Finance.

“Principals are responsible for all aspects of their school – not only the curriculum and discipline of students,” Marcile pointed out. “The 12 modules included in the Villanova program provided insight and practical scenarios in budget, human resources, security and marketing … Sharing thoughts and situations regarding each topic with colleagues provides opportunities for different perspectives and ideas. Also, knowing that you’re in the same boat is comforting.”

The Villanova program, Dr. Schmidt attested, was so regarded because “we literally have [the certification] from the best institution that could provide information on how to run a business within a Catholic framework.”

He added that the certification would continue on an annual basis. “I’m honored that our principals saw the value in it and took the chance on doing it,” he continued, “because the Villanova program fills a gap in our Catholic schools that would be difficult to fill.”

The Villanova principal certification program is made possible, in part, through funding from the Annual Catholic Appeal and the generous gifts of the people of the Diocese.


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Striving to build on management skills, 24 principals in Catholic schools in the Diocese recently took advantage of a certification program through a respected Catholic institution.

The chance to earn a certificate for Catholic school management from Villanova University was offered free of charge to all Catholic school principals in the Diocese over the past year.

“Catholic school management is an important part of what we’re trying to accomplish – we partnered with [Villanova] and saw very positive results,” said Dr. Vincent de Paul Schmidt, diocesan Catholic schools superintendent, who invited the program participants to an informal reception Feb. 28 at the diocesan Chancery to celebrate their accomplishment.

The certification was sponsored jointly by the Eli Lilly company and the Diocese of Trenton’s Office of Catholic Schools and features 12 business modules covering such topics as human resources, budgeting, contracts and much more. Some principals are still finishing the certification, and still more have just begun the program this year.

“If it’s a topic around school operations, it was in there,” Dr. Schmidt said. “When people come to the administration of Catholic schools, many times they are former teachers who don’t necessarily have a business degree. If they come from a state school … they don’t necessarily have some of the elements that make a Catholic school unique, such as fundraising and development – and we have a responsibility to that.”

Christopher McCarrick, principal of Holy Cross Academy, Rumson, finished the program in December. “I thought it would be an excellent program for my growth and success as a building leader,” he said. “I believe in continuous professional development and this program helped reinforce best practices in leadership and ground my role as principal in our faith and Catholic identity.”

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Leading a fiscally responsible and thriving school was one of the goals of the principal certification program, noted Marissa Marcile, diocesan Department of Catholic Schools’ coordinator and financial analyst, Department of Finance.

“Principals are responsible for all aspects of their school – not only the curriculum and discipline of students,” Marcile pointed out. “The 12 modules included in the Villanova program provided insight and practical scenarios in budget, human resources, security and marketing … Sharing thoughts and situations regarding each topic with colleagues provides opportunities for different perspectives and ideas. Also, knowing that you’re in the same boat is comforting.”

The Villanova program, Dr. Schmidt attested, was so regarded because “we literally have [the certification] from the best institution that could provide information on how to run a business within a Catholic framework.”

He added that the certification would continue on an annual basis. “I’m honored that our principals saw the value in it and took the chance on doing it,” he continued, “because the Villanova program fills a gap in our Catholic schools that would be difficult to fill.”

The Villanova principal certification program is made possible, in part, through funding from the Annual Catholic Appeal and the generous gifts of the people of the Diocese.

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