Allegra Thatcher, Assistant Editor.
The principals of the Diocese of Covington schools met with Bishop Roger Foys Oct. 15 at St. Henry District High School to discuss the changing protocols regarding the COVID-19 pandemic and to install Kendra McGuire as the new superintendent of Catholic Schools.
They began with Mid-Morning Prayer from the Liturgy of the Hours led by Father Dan Schomaker, vicar general. Bishop Foys then formally installed Mrs. McGuire. She recited the Nicene Creed and promised fidelity to the Church’s teachings as she guides the department forward.
“Our schools are being entrusted to your care,” said Bishop Foys. “You are to serve them as a good steward, seeking not your own interests but the good of the students, their families and the Church.”
Mrs. McGuire resolved to carry out her responsibilities “with fervent joy and prudence. I will to the best of my abilities, for those commended to my care, form them in the Catholic faith and teach them about the mysteries of the created world.” Mrs. McGuire also received a crucifix and relic of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, patron of Catholic schools, as signs of her new position.
Bishop Foys addressed all the principals, encouraging them to keep taking the COVID-19 pandemic seriously, as a call to live differently. Details about the current state of the virus in Northern Kentucky were given by Dale Henson, CFO.
Mrs. McGuire then gave principals details regarding funding from the CARES Act for schools, the summer feeding program and determining activities outside regular education based on whether they’re essential. “Anything that can be done virtually is definitely preferred at this time,” she said.
Laura Keener, COVID coordinator for the Diocese, also provided the principals with updated reporting and statistics regarding cases of COVID-19 in the diocesan schools.
New superintendent excited to support schools and ever deepen Catholic identity
In the 2020-2021 school year, the role of superintendent of Catholic Schools couldn’t be more critical — and Kendra McGuire has stepped up to navigating a school year ridden with challenges.
Formally installed Oct. 15 by Bishop Roger Foys, Mrs. McGuire, who has been assistant superintendent for four years, said she is excited for the opportunity to lead. It helps, she said, that she already has a firm understanding of the situation and ideas of what needs the most attention.
“I’ve been blessed to work at different schools both as a teacher and a principal, so I’ve built these relationships with our school system. I’m happy to have stepped into this role because we, as a group, know what we need to do moving forward,” she said. “I want to express my gratitude to Bishop Foys for his confidence in me to serve as superintendent. Catholic education is an important ministry of our church and I am excited to assist Bishop Foys in carrying on the mission of our schools.”
There are many things on her mind for improvement, such as the inclusive education program and streamlining safety in schools. Most of these initiatives, she said, have already been in process and simply need time to be worked on when attentions aren’t all on the pandemic situation.
“One of the things that is challenging is that because of COVID-19, where we are starting this year is not where we would normally begin the year,” she said. “In some ways we have to stop and step back and look at priorities in light of all the changes since March … despite all these areas I see we can work on, we have to put that in perspective with what our priorities are right now.” For example, the schools just wrapped up fall testing to evaluate if remote instruction from the spring left any gaps in the students’ education.
Mrs. McGuire said she’s driven by a desire to support principals and to improve the Catholic identity of the schools.
“When I came to the Curia four years ago (as assistant superintendent), I wanted to make sure this office supported principals and schools in all the ways that they needed. I also think we always have room for improvement with our Catholic identity and making sure that all of our schools are focusing first on our mission of the Catholic faith, because with our focus there, the other aspects of the Catholic education come together. As I transition into the superintendent’s role, that has heightened those goals,” she said.
Being superintendent gives her the motivation to “lead the charge” and address these areas of growth. “Now, more than ever, our principals need that support. Our schools need the support because everyone is overwhelmed. Schools are busy anyway, and when you throw a pandemic on top of it … the more that we can do to help them through that, whether that’s to help with COVID-19 planning, or planning on the education side, if we can be proactive and be a support, that’s what drives me.”
For Mrs. McGuire, the new position is a vocation rather than a job. “It’s a calling,” she said, “and I think God taps you on the shoulder and asks you to serve.”