Minnesota Catholic School Receives 2019 Founder’s Award

December 11, 2019

In its seventh straight year, the Healey Education Foundation today presented School Advancement Grants for Excellence (SAGE), including a $10,000 award to Community of Saints Regional Catholic School (West St. Paul, MN) in the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis. Healey’s team members went On the Road to deliver the grant checks and congratulations as Christine L. Healey, President of the Foundation, revealed the winners online via a Zoom video conference. The merit-based award winners were recognized for entrepreneurialism and innovation in their school governance, enrollment and development work. They were chosen from a group of applicants including current and alumni partner schools of the Foundation. 

Students at Community of Saints Regional Catholic School (West St. Paul, MN) experience A Sense of Belonging. A Community of Faith. A Foundation of Excellence. The school grew K-8 enrollment by 19% this past year. It is one of five in the Twin Cities partnering with the University of Notre Dame as part of the Alliance for Catholic Education’s (ACE’s) Higher-Powered Learning Program, which guides teachers and school leaders through the implementation of excellent and sustainable blended-learning programs. 

The recipient of the Founder’s Award, Community of Saints achieved exceptional results through applying an entrepreneurial spirit reflective of the nonprofit’s founder, Robert T. Healey. The school has demonstrated:

  • Leveraging human resources by empowering staff, laity, volunteers and parents
  • The ability to be nimble and adapt to a changing environment
  • Growth through calculated risk (via analysis, strategy development and execution)

Innovative Thinking, Bold Action

Through the efforts of its board, Community of Saints recently purchased the property that it was formerly renting, including the school building and two additional buildings on an eight-acre campus. “Through this work, we see the kind of decision-making and action required by a vibrant school that’s investing in its own future,” said Christine Healey. “Yet this was just one of the standout achievements that made the Founder’s Award decision for us, despite the many accomplishments of other strong applicants.”

“Community of Saints Regional Catholic School has a growth strategy and a strong board with ownership interest, both key to long-term sustainability. They’ve also shown a progression in the art and science of being in the school business. They continue to do the work.” — Robert T. Healey Sr., Founder

The school has had an amazing year of success, with results in all areas of governance, enrollment and development:  

  • Implemented continuous enrollment and achieved 19% K-8 enrollment growth through a collaborative effort of the school staff and the marketing and enrollment board committee members
  • Promoted the school through Walk-in-Wednesdays – a convenience for visiting families – and a “pop on over” open house (with popcorn) targeting prospective families when a local charter school announced a closing
  • Launched a $1 million capital campaign, Building Our Future on Good Ground, while growing annual donor support: an annual giving total of $354,635 and a Loyalty Circle recognizing 46 families and individuals

Excellence in Enrollment and Development

Enrollment Innovation Award winner Notre Dame Academy (Minnetonka, MN) is keeping current families, as evidenced by a 96% retention rate. The school promotes Having Faith in All Children. Delivering on its promise requires a team of dedicated teachers offering a child-centered education.

Through the 2019 SAGE awards, the Healey Education Foundation also acknowledged two schools for excellence in enrollment and development.

Notre Dame Academy (Minnetonka, MN) received the Enrollment Innovation Award as an entrepreneurial school that has achieved strong results via an innovative approach to recruitment or retention. Among the school’s accomplishments:

  • Achieved 96% retention and 9% annual enrollment growth 
  • Separated the Advancement Director position into two dedicated roles (enrollment/marketing and development) and also hired an additional resource teacher for students requiring extra support
  • Attended and applied learnings from the Latino Enrollment Institute and other advancement training, including introduction of the Madrina model, translated school and marketing documents, tours in Spanish, a new free summer learning program and bus transportation 

Saints Peter and Paul School (West Chester, PA) received the Development Innovation Award as an entrepreneurial school that has achieved strong results via an innovative approach to Annual Fund or other fundraising and friend raising initiative. Among the school’s accomplishments:

Development Innovation Award winner Saints Peter and Paul School (West Chester, PA) was named a 2018 Blue Ribbon School of Excellence by the U.S. Department of Education. Principal Margaret Egan was honored with the Terrel H. Bell Award for Outstanding School Leadership.

  • In a well-orchestrated development process, raised more than $425,000, the school’s highest total ever in one year
  • Launched an inaugural two-year Capital Campaign raising $191,000 to create and open in September 2019 the Margaret Egan Center for Innovation, equipping the faculty to deliver the highest level of STREAM education as students learn in collaborative, forward-thinking ways in a state-of-the-art education space
  • Through efforts of the board, school and parish communities along with a strong Home & School Association, attained Capital Campaign results without compromising other development efforts; surpassed goals for the Annual Fund ($177,492) and Scholarship Fund ($30,340) and hosted a successful Teacher Enrichment Fund Golf Outing ($28,050)

SAGE 2019 Award Recipients


Community of Saints Regional Catholic School (West St. Paul, MN)
Ms. Bridget Kramer, Principal; Mr. Doug Lieser, Advancement Director; Father Steve Adrian, Canonical Administrator; Ms. Melinda Frias, Board Chair


Notre Dame Academy (Minnetonka, MN)
Ms. Ginger Vance, Principal; Mrs. Joann Meyer, Advancement Director; Father John Bauer and Father Jim Liekhus, Pastors; Mr. Jim Cron, Board Chair


Saints Peter and Paul School (West Chester, PA)
Mrs. Margaret Egan, Principal; Mrs. Diana Poole, Advancement Director; Father Angelo R. Citino, Pastor; Mr. Joseph Devine, Board Chair


The SAGE awards ceremony and networking experience empower and strengthen the resolve of the community working to revitalize and rejuvenate pride in Catholic schools. In the seven years since the premier SAGE event, the Healey Education Foundation has worked with partner schools to implement enrollment strategies that have impacted more than 63,000 children. In that same timespan, with the Foundation’s help, partner schools have raised more than $24 million in mission-based revenue through their annual funds. In 2020, SAGE will be redesigned and relaunched as a learning and mentoring network and awards program to encourage and incentivize effective school governance via the Foundation’s new approach to Catholic school boards.