New employees join diocesan staff
Basten, Gooding and Walters oversee three diocesan programs
By Sam Lucero
ALLOUEZ -- Three new members of the diocesan staff are settling into their roles as program directors or administrators.
Tammy Basten began her new position as director of facilities and properties on Sept. 10. A member of Resurrection Parish in Allouez, she and husband, Doug, are the parents of two sons, Alec, 9 and Tyler, 7.
Basten's responsibilities include management of diocesan properties, planning and advising in the administration of parish land and buildings, and overseeing diocesan cemeteries.
"I oversee facilities and properties for the diocese, all the way from supplies, to lighting, to electricity, and upkeep of all of the buildings and grounds," she said. This includes other properties that are leased or owned by the diocese.
Basten also works closely with parishes.
"When they want to do something related to their property, maybe add a playground, for example, they would come through our area to get recommendations or approvals," said Basten. "From wanting to have a boiler inspected to wanting an update with their fire alarm system, it's a pretty broad range of things. It's a resource to assist the parishes with their needs relating to facilities and properties."
She also oversees the cemeteries and mausoleums operated by the diocese, which includes those in Allouez, Antigo, Oshkosh, and Manitowoc. "I've been able to visit a couple of them so far," she said, "making sure they have what they need from a resource perspective, as well as any consultation that needs to be done."
Basten holds a bachelor's degree in communications and English from St. Norbert College and has a background in the insurance operations field.
"My background has been in insurance operations in many different capacities, from claims administration, billing administration ... dealing with medical, dental, life insurance and short-term disability," she said. This experience will allow her to help the parishes with their liability insurance.
Basten said she enjoys working with a diverse group of people that serves the church of northeastern Wisconsin. "I really enjoy the communication with many different areas, all working towards the same goal."
Steve Gooding, who has an extensive background in sales and marketing, was appointed administrator of Allouez Catholic Cemetery and Mausoleum on Aug. 27. He is in charge of a
cemetery office staff, family counselors and seasonal groundskeepers that number as many as 12 people.
"It's a hybrid position and a very unique position," said Gooding. "It's a fun position, because I get to be involved in both (management and sales) sides."
Gooding said his number one objective is to "build and foster relationships with the individual parishes."
"We are connected with them; we're an extension of the parishes and I want them to feel that way," he said.
A graduate of UW-Green Bay, Gooding spent the last five years as sales coordinator of Cintas Corporation, which provides specialized services to businesses. He said he took the cemetery administrator's position because of its diverse responsibilities. "Plus the fact that it's pretty close to myself and my family," he said.
His father, Michael Gooding, was buried at Allouez Catholic Cemetery 10 years ago. "It's a very unique connection," said Gooding. "We (employees) all have a loved one or a friend
buried here and it gives you a different perspective, especially for the sales counselors and myself, working with families.
"We speak not as sales people; we speak as customers and we know what it's like to be in their position. We know the emotions involved and therefore we are able to have those
conversations and have the utmost sensitivity in meeting with families needing our services."
Gooding and his wife Heidi, along with daughters Hailee, 8, and Nolee, 2, are members of Nativity Parish in Ashwaubenon.
Diane Walters was hired as the new curriculum and instruction director for the Department of Education on Sept. 4. Walters holds a master's degree in instruction and curriculum from
Lesley College, Cambridge, Mass., and a bachelor's degree in social work from UW-La Crosse.
"I think that you can only do so much in a classroom and a school, and I thought I'd have an opportunity to have more of an impact on educators and kids," said Walters, explaining why she joined the Department of Education.
Walters spent 16 years as a teacher and 10 years as a social worker. "Teaching is my passion," she said. "If I can impact kids in a positive way on a higher level, I think that would be a great opportunity."
In helping develop new curriculum for diocesan Catholic schools, Walters said it is important to offer standards and benchmarks that meet grade level expectations.
"I'd like to see curriculum piloted as it's implemented in all areas, and then get feedback from teachers to see how things are working," she said. "I value all the people who are in the trenches working on the curriculum because I have been there. I know how difficult it is, but it is so valuable."
She explained curriculum as "a framework, a tool from which educators can work. Rather than different schools in the diocese doing different things, there's a common set of standards and benchmarks that we can provide our students who attend Catholic schools. There
are high expectations and I think that's good - for parents as well as for students. I think it will provide appropriate challenges and be a useful tool for educators."
Walters and her husband, Jeff, members of St. Mary Parish in Appleton, are the parents of three adult children, Sarah, 24, a graphic artist and designer for Walt Disney studios in Orlando, Jessica, 22, an electrical engineer, and Kayla, 21, a senior at Winona State University.