Finch to oversee two Neenah schools
A transition committee continues to study ways to operate schools efficiently
By Joanne Flemming
One administrator will oversee Neenah's two Catholic schools next
Selene Finch, principal of St. Gabriel School, will administer
both St. Gabriel and St. Margaret Mary Schools for the 2001-2002
school year, said Eleanor Healy, who coordinates the transition
committee for those schools.
Healy said the decision to have one administrator was made
because Catherine Bunke, the St. Margaret Mary principal, hired
as an interim administrator, is leaving at the end of this school
"The two parishes looked at this as an opportunity to do
something different," she said. The two schools will "operate as
we did this year for next year."
During the coming year, a transition committee will study how the
two schools "might be able to operate more efficiently," Healy
said. "We're trying to be good stewards and make good use of our
facilities and money that is available for all of the programs
that we are responsible for."
In addition to Healy, the committee includes the pastors of St.
Gabriel, St. Margaret Mary and St. Patrick Parish in Menasha, two
representatives each from the two Neenah parishes, and Finch.
The committee will look at such issues as curriculum, faculty and
facilities. Parents and teachers will be invited to serve on
subcommittees investigating those areas.
Healy said the committee is working from a position of strength.
Both schools have strong programs, "very strong faculty and ...
really good facilities."
Finch concurred: "I think that it is important to study all of
the parameters of what we have, all the resources we have and
then make decisions as to how to best use them ... I ... feel
that the strongest educational program that we can put together
in Neenah is only the best for the kids."
The two Neenah schools, St. Patrick Parish and St. Mary School in
Menasha are members of the Twin Cities Catholic Education system
(TCCES). St. Patrick is the site of Seton Middle School. Because
it does not have a day school, she said, it can send its students
to any of the TCCES schools.
St. John School, also in Menasha, does not belong to TCCES. Fr.
Paul Radetski, St. John's pastor, said the parish is "still
studying" whether the school will join the educational system.
"We're still talking and looking," he said. The parish will "not
move fast" because of the situation at St. Gabriel and St.
Margaret Mary, he said. "We want to see what they can do."
Finch has been principal at St. Gabriel school for 10 years. She
said enrollments at the two Neenah schools will be near 400 next