Roche Center Hosts Emmaus Leadership Retreat

Roche Center Hosts Emmaus Leadership Retreat for Principals

CHESTNUT HILL, July 13, 2013– The Barbara and Patrick Roche Center for Catholic Education of Boston College hosted the Emmaus Series Retreat at the Connors Retreat and Conference Center in Dover, MA. The three-day conference, beginning on July 11th, brought together twenty-three principals from Catholic schools in Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, Connecticut, and Rhode Island to engage in leadership training for effective Catholic schools.

The retreat served as the inaugural event of The Emmaus Series: A Leadership Advantage Program for New England Catholic School Principals. The series extends over a 20-month period and derives its title from a story in the Gospel of Luke when Jesus appears to two travelers on the road to a town named Emmaus, and engages them in a discussion of the ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus. The companionship and ministry of this retreat are foundational to the mission of this leadership program for Catholic school principals.

“The Emmaus Series Retreat is an inspirational, professional experience for Catholic school principals.  The workshops, collaboration, and experiences, based on the National Standards for Effective Catholic schools, create shared leadership outcomes that empower attendees to return to their schools and strengthen their Catholic identity, leadership teams, and academic excellence.” said Dr. Patricia A. Weitzel-O’Neill, Executive Director of the Roche Center.

The conference featured 8 engaging experts, whose training and experience inform effective leadership for Catholic schools.  The Roche Center’s Executive Director, Patricia Weitzel-O’Neill, and Associate Director of Professional Development, Kristin Melley, led the retreat with compelling presentations on school mission and vision and effective practices of an educational leader guided by standards and benchmarks. Father Jack Butler, SJ, the Vice-President of University Mission and Ministry at Boston College, followed with a dynamic discussion on school charism and spiritual leadership, with an emphasis on mission-driven school culture.

Other key components included a session on research-based approaches to leading effective school change through data-informed decision-making, delivered by Lynch School of Education and Human Development Associate Professor Dr. Patrick McQuillian. Nathan Pelsma, an Adjunct Professor of the Carroll Graduate School of Management, provided training on managing finances, fundraising, and other strategies for the administration of a successful school.

The work and collaboration will continue at future meetings and also online, as principal participants connect, share resources, and support one another with NING, an online professional learning community administrated by the Roche Center.  

The Barbara and Patrick Roche Center for Catholic Education, rooted in the Ignatian culture of Jesuit education, provides professional advancement opportunities, applied research, support, and outreach to ensure the sustainability of Catholic education. For more information, please visit