Archdiocese of Chicago

 New Leaders Minimize

Program Description

The Principal Mentoring program, Leaders in New Schools, was designed to offer additional support to those taking on the role of new principal in the Catholic schools of the Archdiocese of Chicago.   Recent trends find all schools across the nation taking a closer look at leadership positions within their systems. Research confirms that effective school leaders have a significant impact on student achievement. Add to this the unique ministry of leadership in Catholic schools.  It is a call to be the faith leader, the instructional leader, and the steward of the school’s vitality and viability.  The lengthy list of duties and responsibilities of a Catholic school principal is enough to challenge the most talented of new leaders.  The Archdiocese’s investment in this program affirms its commitment to provide targeted mentoring and support for our new principals so that all students receive an education that is Catholic, excellent, and vital.

Leaders in New Schools provides focused and on-going support throughout the first year of a principal’s career.  New leaders form a unique professional learning community, meeting regularly throughout the school year.  Each new leader is assigned an experienced and successful mentor principal, who provides individual counsel and guidance, as well as weekly check-ins.  And staff members from the Office of Catholic Schools make site visits to each of the new leaders to better understand the unique set of challenges they may face and offer further support.  


OCS Handbook for School Administrators

For more information, please contact Elise Matson Dite at

New Leader Information

Five Fundamentals of Financial Aid

Presentation on Financial Aid

Presentation on Tuition Discounting Tool

Renew My Church Information

Important Documents

New Teacher and Employee File Checklist

Webinar Bank

The links below will take you to short webinars to help you get acclimated to the OCS! Feel free to watch them as often as you need for information on various topics. 

Navigating the OCS Resource Portal

Posting an Open Position on Applitrack

Teacher Hiring Paperwork Webinar

Five Fundamentals of Financial Aid

Tuition Discounting Tool


 Characteristics of Courageous Leaders Minimize

An article in Forbes magazine a while back outlined 10 Characteristics of courageous leaders. The article suggested that these are the times that call for bold, confident, courageous leadership. (Click HERE for a link to the article)  They point out that history has shown, those with the guts to step forward, take some risks and lead change during downturns will be the eventual winners.  Education has always been a relatively conservative industry, with fear of risk and failure. How courageous are you? How courageous are those you lead? 

If you want to see more courageous action by your people, consider whether you’re modeling the 10 traits of courageous leaders:

1.            Confront reality head-on.  Only by knowing the true current state can you lead your team to a better place.

2.            Seek feedback and listen.  Unfiltered 360-degree feedback is not always easy to hear, but it can breathe new life into your relationships and leadership style if you listen and act.

3.            Say what needs to be said.   Having crucial conversations helps cut through the smoke and move through issues. This also means having the courage to put your opinions on the table, even if they are unpopular.

4.            Encourage push-back.  By encouraging constructive dissent and healthy debate, you reinforce the strength of the team and demonstrate that in the tension of diverse opinions lies a better answer.

5.            Take action on performance issues.  Confronting people issues is hard, which is why so many leaders ignore them until they become a toxic threat to the team or company’s performance. By taking swift action to reassign or exit under-performing employees, you are helping yourself, the team and organization.

6.            Communicate openly and frequently.   Keep the lines of communication open, even when you don’t know all the answers.  Courageous leaders refuse to hide behind jargon and wiggle-words – they use straight-talk and are not afraid to say “I don’t know.”  They also share information instead of hoarding it.

7.            Lead change.  In fear-based environments, it’s all about protecting the status quo. Envision a better way, a better solution,  and approach it with determination and an open mind, knowing that it will be messy and that a mid-course correction may be necessary. Remember that you need to bring people along the change process for them to truly engage.

8.            Make decisions and move forward.  Especially in environments of fear and intense change, it feels unsafe to commit to a decision and move ahead. Avoid the crutch of ‘analysis paralysis’ and make the decision.  Forward movement is always better than being stuck in place.

9.            Give credit to others.  Let go of the need for praise and instead give the credit to those around you.  At first it feels scary – will I be rendered irrelevant or unnecessary if my people are doing all the good stuff? Remember that a good leader takes more than their fair share of the blame and less than their fair share of the credit.

10.            Hold people (and yourself) accountable.  Expect people to perform and deliver on their commitments, and have courage to call them out when they don’t follow through.  Remember that accountability begins with you – holding yourself responsible for modeling the behaviors you expect of others.


 Discussion Group Minimize


 Good reads Minimize
What Can We Learn from Finland's Successful School Reform
by Linda Darling-Hammond
in Rethinking Schools, Volume 24, Number 4.
The Principal’s Role in Successful Schools:
Creating a Positive School Culture
by Shelly Habeggar
in Principal September/October 2008