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From the Superintendent

The Archdiocese of Washington is proud to welcome approximately 27,000 students back to Catholic schools for school year 2015-2016.  Recently, I had the privilege to speak to nearly 2,000 Catholic school administrators, faculty, and staff members as the new superintendent for schools, during the Opening of Schools Mass celebrated by his Eminence, Cardinal Wuerl, at the Shrine of the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception.  As our educators start a new school year, I have asked that they make learning personal for each and every student in a Catholic school.  Please read the enclosed article, Archdiocese Goes Back to School, about the Opening of Schools Mass to learn more about Cardinal Wuerl’s commissioning of Catholic educators to ensure Catholic identity is alive in our schools.

I am very excited to be your new superintendent, joining a strong team of educators in the archdiocese, and I am joyful to be part of such a wonderful organization that allows me to openly practice my Catholic faith.  Catholic schools offer a unique partnership supporting parents in the education of each student.  Our educators are committed to the academic success of each student, while also encouraging and supporting students as they develop a personal relationship with God. During my first one-hundred days as superintendent, I plan to visit each of the 95 Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Washington, to be a witness of our Catholic schools in action. 

Later this month, the Archdiocese of Washington will welcome Pope Francis to Washington, D.C.  Catholic school students will have special opportunities to participate during the Papal Visit.  Each of us can make a commitment to follow the example of our Holy Father by taking the pledge to Walk with Francis. Together, we can Walk with Francis by praying, serving and acting as missionary disciples.  Please read the enclosed Catholic Schools and Parishes can ‘Walk with Francis’ for more information about how to make your pledge.  Click here to make your pledge today.

In closing, I wish you a great school year filled with much success.  May we be filled and inspired by the Holy Spirit as students are educated in the great Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Washington.

Sincerely in Christ Jesus,

Back to School 2015 Vol. 4 No. 1

Catholic schools and parishes can ‘Walk with Francis’
By Zoey Di Mauro, Catholic Standard

As students and teachers around the country prepare for the start of a new school year, Catholic schools and parish religious education programs in the Archdiocese of Washington are also gearing up for Pope Francis’s visit to their hometown. While many Catholic school students will be able to witness the Holy Father’s presence in the city, all are able to welcome him while growing in their Catholic faith by taking the Walk with Francis pledge to pray, serve, and act. “I see great opportunities for Catholic schools to take the Walk with Francis pledge and help students practically understand the power of prayer and service in action,” said Tom Burnford, the archdiocese’s secretary for education.

Bill Ryan, the new superintendent of schools for the Archdiocese of Washington, took the pledge to walk with Pope Francis  and plans to visit the elderly with his Labrador retriever Amber, whom he is getting certified to serve as a therapy dog, and also serve the less fortunate.

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‘The greatest award’
By Mark Zimmermann

For Bill Ryan, archdiocese’s new superintendent, education is all about making a difference in students’ lives.  Bill Ryan remembers well the impact his teachers had on his life. “They cared about me and motivated me to do great things, to do something special,” he said.

Now after three-decades in public school administration and teaching marked by personal and school honors, Ryan has begun serving as the new Superintendent of Schools for the Archdiocese of Washington. In that work which he began on July 1, Ryan said he looks forward to integrating his Catholic faith with his educational experience, and hopes to help make a difference in the lives of students, teachers and principals.

“I saw this as an opportunity, as a capstone for my career. I’m not sure I could find a better place to work,” said the member of St. Mary of the Mills Parish in Laurel, who most recently served as the employee performance and evaluation officer for Prince George’s County Public Schools.

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Archdiocese Goes Back to School
By Ken Gaughan, Assistant Superintendent for School Operations and Catholic Identity

Back to school is an exciting time of the year. While summer is winding down, children are not the only ones, who are thrilled for that first day. Teachers are refreshed and rejuvenated to begin another year of instructing and mentoring their students.

The Archdiocese of Washington has a long standing tradition of beginning the academic year by celebrating with the Opening of Schools Mass. Over 1,500 teachers and school administrators gathered at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C.  Cardinal Wuerl presided and reflected on the importance of teachers to maintain and instill Catholic values while maintaining strong academic rigor for nearly 28,000 students, who attend the 95 Catholic schools in the Archdiocese.

On August 24, the Feast of Saint Bartholomew the Apostle, teachers eagerly gathered in prayer and worship to publicly commit themselves as Catholic teachers, who Cardinal Wuerl commissioned to be missionary disciples in their school communities.

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