Pope Prep to implement new leadership structure

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Bishop J. Mark Spalding has approved a recommendation to change the leadership structure for Pope John Paul II Preparatory School to a President/Principal model as the school prepares to launch a national search for a new leader.

“The school’s leadership, the Board of Trustees, and the Catholic Schools Office all agree a new leadership structure will allow Pope to achieve its goals,” Dr. Rebecca Hammel, superintendent of schools for the Diocese of Nashville, and Russell Marino, president of the Board of Trustees, said in a letter to the school’s families and supporters. “Bishop Spalding has accepted our recommendation to make this change.”

“We are therefore pleased to announce that Pope Prep will move to a President/Principal model of leadership effective July 1, 2023,” Hammel and Marino said in their letter. Currently, the school uses a headmaster/head of school model.

“Primarily the President will promote the school’s mission, secure resources and partnerships, and establish a community presence,” the letter states. “The Principal will manage internal operations, such as curriculum, programs, culture, student formation and faculty development.”

“You may recall that the Catholic Schools Office and the Board of Trustees have been working with Pope Prep’s leadership over the past several months on leadership succession and a strategic plan. During this process, it became clear that Pope Prep would benefit from a change in its leadership model to realize its strategic priorities over the next 20 years,” they explained in the letter. 

“Areas of strategic focus include elevating the school’s mission and Catholic identity, broadening academic excellence and the education of the whole student, moving forward with campus enhancements, and boosting financial vitality,” the letter states.

In the 2021-22 academic year, Pope Prep added the middle school grades to become a 6-12 school. The additional grades have helped boost the school’s enrollment to nearly 800 students.

“Although our growth is inspiring, it comes with challenges,” Dr. Hammel and Marino said in their letter. “We have needs to meet today, and great plans for the future.”

Implementing the President/Principal model will prompt “considerations around an Advancement Office that will both streamline and increase the effectiveness of fundraising, marketing, and communications,” the letter states. “A well-functioning Advancement Office bolsters our ability to fund construction projects, expand our reach through financial aid, and recruit and retain top faculty. Student Life programs will evolve to meet the needs of middle and high school students, and facilities will receive much-needed upgrades.”

The national search for a President will be launched publicly in the coming weeks, according to the letter. Karen Phillips is serving as Interim Head of School.

“We will keep you updated on our progress. In the meantime, please join us and Pope’ leadership, faculty, and staff as we pray for God to send the right person to fill this new role and lead Pope Prep into the future as the ‘Shining City on the Hill,’” Dr. Hammel and Marino wrote.

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