Welcome back to another school year with Greater St. Albert Catholic Schools. I am excited to write about our faith theme for the upcoming school year and share with you some thoughts about Shepherds and Sheep — that’s right Shepherds and Sheep!
The District Faith Theme for 2019 – 2020 will complete our three-year examination of the leadership and life of Jesus through his three most celebrated attributes: servant, steward, and shepherd.
The notion of servant and steward-based leadership is well understood in broader society. People readily embrace the notion that great leaders look beyond themselves and that caring for others and the world entrusted to us is at the heart of leading as a global citizen. The work of our schools in furthering these dimensions of life skills for our students is of critical importance.
But seeing leadership through the metaphor of a shepherd and his sheep is not as readily embraced or understood. Some have even deemed this relationship as one of master to servant, where the servant leads a flock who is blindly obedient to the needs of the shepherd. But let’s not forget that Jesus was in tune to the culture of his time, a culture that can often reflect aspects of our own. Therefore, understanding this context reveals new opportunities of compelling leadership for our staff and our students. Let’s remember that Jesus knew all too well, that one can choose to care about people, themselves, and their world without radically extending their attention to the most vulnerable and needy or where the greatest injustices in society exist.
As such, consider the following basic truths about Jesus who as articulated through John’s gospel, maintains that he is the “good shepherd,” and that he knows his sheep, and they know him.
Shepherds were considered to be among the lowest of all in the social class where Jesus lived. This being the case, Jesus wished to convey that love for others can be realized and valued by everyone and for everyone regardless of who they are, where they live, or their personal circumstance.
Furthermore, a “good shepherd” is one who does not give up on providing support and assistance for others regardless of their circumstance. Once the bond between a shepherd and sheep is strongly developed, both are inseparable, but it takes patience and commitment on behalf of the shepherd to form and grow this relationship.
I would submit that there is no better kind of commitment between a leader and his people than that developed through emulating the traits of the Good Shepherd. For 2019 – 2020, we hope that when our staff and students focus on Shepherd Leadership, our school communities will come to know how meaningful life becomes by getting more in tune with what God has revealed to us through the example of Jesus Christ as the Good Shepherd.
Thank you to parents and students for your continued support of our schools by being with us for another school year. Welcome to all new families who will become part of our flock and share in our sacred story.
May the 2019 – 2020 school year be your best yet.
Superintendent of schools