If you go to the website of Bishop Elect McKnight’s current parish and click on the “Bulletins button” on the top right corner you can find the bulletin for December 17th. In it is an article entitled: “Tis the Season to Celebrate. . . and Embrace Change.” Below is an except containing most of that article. Should these things happen in Jefferson City conditions will greatly improve, even for those who have been doing the dirty work for their boss for 20 years:
Written by Kristin Schmitz and Jennifer Patterson:
It was with a mixture of sadness and excitement that we received the news of
Bishop-Elect’s appointment to the Diocese of Jefferson City. Bishop-Elect is a true
leader in every sense of the word. He will be a wonderful Bishop with his strong
faith, compassionate ministry to others, and administrative abilities. We are
excited for him and the Jefferson City Diocese, but we are, of course, sad to lose
him here at Magdalen! He has been a blessing as a pastor and boss. Bishop-Elect
McKnight fostered a culture of resiliency at Magdalen Catholic School by defining
administrative processes, reaching out to the margins, empowering his employees,
and creating a partnership between home and school, and therefore, school
One of Bishop-Elect’s $rst initiatives as our pastor was to begin the “REACH
Initiative”. A year long process, this Initiative explored ways to make Catholic
education available to all who desire it. Through listening sessions and surveys,
we implemented a three prong improvement plan which included better data,
special education services, and more support personnel. We found the means to
fund these additions with a grant, more effcient budgeting, and donations. We
are on year 2 of the implementation, and, by all accounts, all 3 parts of the plan
are established and growing.
Empowerment of employees can come in many different forms. One of
Bishop-Elect’s best gifts to our staff is the permission to be human. He encourages
us that we are not perfect, he is not perfect, and in admitting so, we are free from
fear of mistakes. We acknowledge our imperfection, we honestly communicate
a mistake, we problem solve together, and we move forward with the lesson
learned. What a beautiful way to empower employees. Are there consequences
if needed? Of course. But an employee of Bishop-Elect does not work in fear.
Compassion, fairness, and processes are consistent.
As Bishop-Elect identified needs on our campus or in our hallways, he was able
to address these with a collaborative spirit and involvement of people within our
parish with the right skill sets to help. For example, when we wished to do a safety
review, Bishop-Elect formed a Joint Safety Board, which identified the security
needs of our school and placed people with the proper backgrounds to assist.
Due to the number of charitable requests the school receives, and the difficulty
in balancing a charitable spirit with the amount of resources at hand, Bishop-Elect
formed a Charity Board to help the administration with this task. The same can be
true of Athletics and the establishment of a committee. These collaborative and
skilled groups have uniquely helped us in our roles of administrators, and we’ve
been blessed by the formation of them and the processes they develop.
Throughout all of these improvements ran the thread of improving the
partnerships between home and school and school and parish. As resiliency
was fostered, so too our relationships with each other grew. Communication
improved, the willingness to work together as a team extended into more areas,
and our interactions with each other were positive and productive. Does this
mean things were perfect at Magdalen Catholic School? Of course not. But the
spirit of resiliency created by Bishop-Elect is strong, and we will work to carry on
this legacy as he moves to Jefferson City as the new Bishop. He leaves us stronger,
healthier, and empowered.