Q & A with Superintendent of schools

| December 8, 2009 | 0 Comments

Superintendent of schools Marty Frauenheim has more than 30 years of teaching, principal and superintendent experience in four states. She’s in her second year at the archdiocesan Catholic Schools Office.

Q Why is Catholic education important?

When you take a look at the difficult times that we’re in right now, there is probably no better investment than in the future of children, in terms of something that is really going to make a difference. Catholic education provides a wonderful opportunity for our children to be successful, to grow in their faith and to be strong citizens and future leaders. We like to think that that’s what the Catholic faith does for them.

Q What do schools mean when they talk about “Catholic identity” and how is it manifest?

We need to know who we are, who we serve and why we serve. Having a strong understanding of Catholic identity is so important. It’s really about understanding that our purpose for existence is being there for faith formation for children and their families, and the Gospel value that Jesus gave us . . . is really a Gospel of hope and joy and love.

We find that Catholic identity manifest in everything that happens in a Catholic school. . . . It’s manifest in the call to our faith formation, through liturgy, through prayer, through worship, through the Catholic traditions. It’s there through teaching and learning, our determination that every child is a child of God, and therefore the potential for every child is tapped into, and how important that is in regard to mission. It’s there in the way that learning happens, in the way that teaching happens. We see it there in our call to social justice and service. Jesus was our first teacher, and he was a servant leader. . . .

It’s there in the intentional forming of community, a community of learners, a community of believers. . . .

It’s manifest in a lot of things, not just the teaching of religion. It’s manifest in how we are with one another in relationship.

Q How are Catholic schools different from private or public schools?

It’s important to understand that we are not a private school; we are a Catholic school. It’s all based on mission. What’s our mission? Our mission is the faith formation of children and their families. Part of what we are about is that evangelizing mission of the Catholic Church. . . .

It is our way to pass on that ability to have future leaders of the church be formed and transformed in the Catholic schools.

Q How do you see this lived out in our Catholic schools?

Evangelization of families really does happen as we call people and invite them into a closer relationship with God through what we do in our schools.

One story is the Jetland family. They’re at Benilde-St. Margaret’s in St. Louis Park — Jim and Mary Jetland and their children, Joe and Katie, who were students there. On Easter Vigil during Joe’s sophomore year, the whole family was received into the church.

Q What makes you proud about being in this kind of work?

We all get a sense that God has given us certain opportunities in our lives to use our gifts, and to use them where he has put us. . . . I am very humbled by the opportunity to serve here. I am very blessed to have an archbishop who is wonderful to work with, who has such a strong commitment to Catholic education and Catholic schools. . . . My team at the Catholic Schools Office is so committed to being a resource to the Catholic schools in the archdiocese. . . . That’s very humbling when you can see that you can make a difference if you are just listening to what God is asking of you.

Category: Explore the World of Catholic Education