Qualities stakeholders would like to see in a head of school for a new Catholic high school planned in Midland were discussed at a meeting Monday at St. Mary’s Central Catholic School in Odessa.
Holy Cross High School has been planned for many years.
Michael G. Furey, a partner in Partners in Mission School Leadership Solutions, was on hand to take input Monday.
Because the school will be a start-up, Furey said Holy Cross should look for a head of school, someone who is a combination of a school principal and president. Ultimately, those might become two separate positions.
The first phase needs $20 million and fundraising is ongoing. The school will be launched at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton in 2019 and plans are to move it to its new building on Holiday Hill Road, south of the Tom and Nadine Craddick Highway/State Highway 349 Reliever Route in the fall of 2020.
The land was donated by Fasken Oil and Ranch Ltd. It includes about 50 acres. JSA Architects has been contacted for the school design.
Among the qualities the nine people attending the meeting said they would like in the head of school are someone who is a visionary; someone who can understand the diversity of the Permian Basin; someone who is well versed in day-to-day teaching and learning; someone who can create curriculum; and someone who is familiar with state education requirements and law.
Cheryl Brooks, who teaches sixth through eighth grade science and religion at St. Mary’s, said the head of school should be experienced in relating to students.
Furey said the head of school will also have to be a marketer, able to build rapport and trust and be the chief fundraiser.
As the school grows and buzz is created, Holy Cross will attract students from the other educational choices in the area, Furey said. Faculty, support, admissions, marketing and a full-time advancement person also could be added.
Roy Ramirez, vice president of the Holy Cross Catholic School board and capital campaign director said the model chosen for Holy Cross is independent — not connected to a specific parish, but it will be Christ-centered. Also, the whole community can rally around it.
Ramirez said parochial schools across the country are closing.
Holy Cross, which will serve students from around the area, was shooting for a 2018 opening, but they’ve stepped back from that, Ramirez has said.
Joan Wilmes, superintendent of the diocese and principal at St. Ann’s School in Midland, said the school will be accredited by the Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops Education Department.
“What we want is an excellent academic setting founded on Christ,” Ramirez said.
Furey said the school will accept students from all denominations.
Ramirez said there will be extracurricular activities, such as sports and music, but the main priority will be academics.
Permanent board seats for the new school will be the Bishop of the diocese who is currently Michael Sis; Wilmes; and a pastor or priest from the Odessa-Midland deanery. The other eight to 10 board members, who will be from Odessa and Midland, may change, but those three will be constant.
Wilmes added that herself, the bishop and priest will be voting members.
Christina Acosta, a parent of a St. Mary’s student, said she wants to have what she’s teaching her child at home reinforced at school.