NEW ORLEANS — Monsignor Clarke School principal, Dr. Arthur Lisi, and the school’s director of admissions and development, Sara Marshall, were invited to present at the National Catholic Education Association’s annual conference in New Orleans in April. Their presentation, “Building a Catholic School for the 21st Century”, showcased the school’s 40% growth in enrollment over the last six years, a success credited to building a successful admissions and development program, coupled with strong leadership, a shift in culture and a clear vision of the school’s mission and purpose.
The presentation was also based largely on the tenets of the NCEA publication, “25 Lessons Learned In 25+ Years in Catholic School Development,” by Frank Donaldson.
“As a new development director hired to build a program in a school that didn’t yet have one, this book served as a guide to our success.” said Marshall. “We wanted to share this roadmap to our success.”
Added Dr. Lisi, “The ideas and suggestions in this book, coupled with the creativity, imagination and hard work of the Monsignor Clarke staff, made presenting our story on a national stage such a joy.”
Dr. Lisi and Marshall’s 75-minute presentation resonated with many of the principals, administrators, development directors and teachers in attendance.
“With over 80 attendees in the room, it was standing room only”, said Marshall. “We were honored that so many people chose us when there were so many great presentations to choose from at the same time.”
The pair shared their school’s journey as well as the benefit of building a development program in a Catholic school. Not only has enrollment in Monsignor Clarke School increased over the last five years, but their development efforts have also raised significant funds for the school. Lisi and Marshall shared that it takes time to build a vibrant development effort.
“Catholic school development is not a quick fix or a band aid that you plug in when you need funds,” said Marshall. “It may take 2 to 5 years. Development is the ‘meaningful involvement of people in the school’s mission or vision.’”