The Compass: Official Newspaper of the Catholic Diocese of Green Bay
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April 20, 2001 Issue
Local News

Finch to oversee two Neenah schools

A transition committee continues to study ways to operate schools efficiently

By Joanne Flemming
Compass Correspondent

One administrator will oversee Neenah's two Catholic schools next year.

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 year.

"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 year.

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