FALL RIVER (May 8, 2017) — Bishop Edgar da Cunha has announced the creation of a new diocesan school board composed of clergy and lay professionals whose mission will be to develop a “stronger and more cohesive system” of Catholic schools in the Diocese of Fall River.
The new diocesan Central Board for Catholic Education includes some notable names, such as former University of Massachusetts Dartmouth chancellor Jean MacCormack; The Rev. John Denning, president of Stonehill College; and Nicholas M. Christ, president and CEO of BayCoast Bank.
The board, which is also comprised of diocesan officials, priests, attorneys, academics and business executives, will be tasked to oversee the implementation of several recommendations that a diocesan task force on Catholic education issued in a comprehensive report last fall. The board will work in collaboration with the central diocesan Catholic school’s Catholic schools’ leadership team to establish new system-wide policies, practices and plans, as well as providing financial oversight, officials said.
“The Catholic Education Center’s leadership team is looking forward to working with the new Central Board for Catholic Education,” diocesan Superintendent of Schools Steve Perla said in prepared remarks.
“We are grateful to Bishop da Cunha for assembling such a gifted group of people to provide leadership for and support to advancing the mission of Catholic school education in the Diocese of Fall River,” Perla added.
The new school board’s first meeting is scheduled for May 15. The board will report to da Cunha, and officials said its work will dovetail with that of the diocesan school administration.
A committee had been working with da Cunha since last November to identify prospective candidates for the board following the task force’s recommendation that members be drawn from “affiliated clerical, academic, professional, and geographical representative bodies.”
In a recent interview with The Herald News, da Cunha said the diocese is looking to revitalize its school system — which has closed several Catholics schools in recent years because of falling enrollment and skyrocketing expenses — in part by asking for help from people who were never before consulted. He said the new board members will bring “expertise and experience that will help us address” the question of how to make sure Catholic schools are affordable and yet financially sustainable.
The Diocese of Fall River’s Central Board for Catholic Education:
– Attorney William Carline of Attleboro
– Kathleen Carney-Larisa, executive director of the Carney Family Charitable Foundation in New Bedford
– The Rev. Paul Caron, pastor of St. Anthony Parish in Mattapoisett, and St. Rita Parish in Marion
– Nicholas M. Christ, President and CEO, BayCoast Bank, Swansea
– The Rev. David Costa, pastor of Sacred Heart and St. Mary Parishes in North Attleboro and director of St. Mary-Sacred Heart School
– The Rev. Thomas Costa, pastor of the Annunciation of the Lord Parish in Taunton, and director of Our Lady of Lourdes School
– The Rev. John Denning, C.S.C., president of Stonehill College in Easton
– Kevin Kiley, chancellor of the Diocese of Fall River
– Janet Letourneau, Practioner Faculty in Marketing at Providence College
– Jean MacCormack, Ph.D., former Chancellor of UMass-Dartmouth
– The Rev. Jay Maddock, pastor of Holy Name Parish in Fall River and director of Holy Name School
– Steven Perla, Superintendent of Schools for the Diocese of Fall River
– The Rev. Christopher Peschel, parochial vicar of St. Pius X Parish in South Yarmouth
– Hosffman Ospino, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Hispanic Ministry and Religious Education at Boston College
– Nichole Rich, Ph.D., Educational Consultant, Norton
– Roger Sullivan, advisory board member of St. Pius X School in South Yarmouth.
“We are enlisting the support of foundations and individuals who have an interest in seeing the Catholic schools remain vital for the future,” da Cunha said.
The board’s specific responsibilities will include strategic planning, system-wide fiduciary responsibility, formulating financial aid best practices, fulfillment of mission, marketing and development, as well as monitoring and assessment of the school system’s progress, quality, and adherence to educational standards.
“I anticipate the Board will work in collaboration with all stakeholder groups to identify and develop Catholic school education policies and models that support, advance and ensure the long-term vitality of the schools,” Perla said.
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