Archdiocese of Baltimore Partners with Healey Education Foundation

December 15, 2014

Six elementary schools in the Archdiocese of Baltimore have begun work with the Healey Education Foundation and are in the process of hiring advancement directors and rolling out the methodology, starting with parent surveys and focus groups. “Healey is helping with the transformation from good to great at these schools,” said Dr. Barbara McGraw Edmondson, Superintendent of Catholic Schools, Archdiocese of Baltimore. “This partnership provides an opportunity to create a model across all of our schools, using the common language, protocol and best practices that Healey provides.”

Archdiocese of Baltimore Catholic Schools [logo]

The collaboration began just over a year ago when leaders from the Foundation and Archdiocese kept running into each other, first at the 2013 NCEA Seton Award ceremony where Robert T. Healey was honored. Over the next two months they met at a panel discussion on successful school models in Allentown and again at a meeting of the Mid-Atlantic Catholic Schools Consortium.

A Working Group for Enrollment and Advancement

The six schools that will initially implement the Healey approach were selected from the Archdiocesan Collaborative Schools. Additional archdiocesan field specialists will also be engaged so the learning can eventually be applied to other schools. “This cohort is a great working group of highly interested leaders, including principals with an articulated vision and an interest in bringing an advancement director on board,” Barbara said. “This first phase should provide a great model and training ground for our other schools; eventually everyone will benefit from Healey’s presence.”

James Sellinger, a former Vice President with IBM now serving as Chancellor of Education for the Archdiocese of Baltimore’s school system, is responsible for promoting the enrollment and fiscal health of the Archdiocese’s nearly 50 Catholic schools. “This partnership is an important step in applying a consistent approach across the Archdiocese,” he said. “These are six strong elementary schools in need of resources on the ground to handle the enrollment challenges they are facing. Their new advancement directors will have all the core competencies in enrollment, development, and board management required by the Healey approach. These will be the people who wake up in the morning thinking about enrollment and fundraising.”

The six schools are:

  • Monsignor Slade Catholic School (Glen Burnie)
  • Our Lady of Victory School (Arbutus)
  • St. John School Westminster (Westminster)
  • St. John the Evangelist School (Hydes)
  • St. Michael the Archangel School (Baltimore)
  • St. Philip Neri School (Linthicum Heights)

Casey Buckstaff, in her second year as Principal of Monsignor Slade Catholic School, has had enrollment on her mind. While she has, in her words, “enjoyed being the face of the school,” she is pleased to be bringing on a fulltime advancement director to share in the responsibilities.

“We’ll now be equipped with a clear direction and specific plan to walk us down the path toward long-term sustainability,” she said. “We’re truly excited for this partnership and ready to take this next step.”

Winning Attitude, Winning Team

Healey Education Foundation’s first addition to the Baltimore team is Laura Lang, its recently hired Director of Schools who partners with the six Healey schools in the Archdiocese. Laura had worked for 24 years, most recently as Director of Development and Constituent Relations, at The John Carroll School (Bel Air, MD), her alma mater and an independent Catholic school owned by the Archdiocese.

“As a product of Catholic schools, and as a parent of children who went through Catholic schools, I had always viewed development differently than the traditional approach of asking for parent volunteers at multiple fundraising events; I also learned what battles were worth fighting,” Laura said. She left the school in good hands, with a seven-person office staff, an Annual Fund bringing in $750,000 a year, and just having celebrated the school’s 50th anniversary. “Now I can apply all I had been doing those past 24 years in a different way with a broader sphere of influence,” she said. “And knowing many of the folks in the Baltimore schools is an added advantage.”

Her enthusiasm is shared among leaders at the Archdiocese. “They’ve assembled such a winning team,” said Beth Alfonsi, Regional Director, Healey Education Foundation. “An Archbishop who is not only committed to his schools but well respected across the country, a forward-thinking Superintendent who understands so much more than the curriculum – including the value of boards, a Chancellor of Education with a sense of urgency and a business background that helps the Archdiocese see its schools through a new lens…these are the kinds of people who get things done.”