What career path can lead to principal of St. Helena Catholic School?

Posted by Ronald | January 18, 2013  |  No Comment

There are over six thousand Catholic schools in the U.S. with 2.6 million students at the elementary, middle and high school levels. In teaching and nurturing the whole child, these schools are rooted in the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the delivery of academic excellence. As we continue our series on career paths, the critical questions to be asked are: What career path can lead to principal of St. Helena Catholic School? What educational background and/or professional training are essential for this profession? What influenced principal Jane Hileman to pursue a career as principal of St. Helena Catholic School? What advice does Hileman give to students who desire to pursue a career as a principal?

St. Helena Catholic School, located in Minneapolis, MN, is accredited by the Minnesota Nonpublic School Accrediting
 Association and meets the standards set forth by the Archdiocese of St.
 Paul and Minneapolis for Catholic Identity. Its mission is to develop the spiritual, intellectual, emotional, and physical character of each child in partnership with parents and the parish community. Since 1926, the school has been providing solid academics and creating a moral foundation for its students. St. Helena’s students consistently score in the top percentage of the country on the SAT
 standardized achievement tests. Ninety-three percent scored average or above in mathematics and
 reading, and eighty-seven percent scored average or above in science.

Behind every great school, there is a great leader. St. Helena Catholic School is led by Jane Hileman, a dedicated, enthusiastic and extraordinary principal. Hileman’s commitment to St. Helena began in 1988 when she was a young mother searching for the best school for her kindergartner. Impressed by St. Helena’s balance of faith and academics, she knew it was the best fit for her family. After seven years, Hileman had all three of her children attending St. Helena and she became the middle school English teacher. When the principal role opened in 1998, her inspirational leadership and work ethic made her the exceptional choice. According to the school’s pastor, Reverend Richard Villano, “Jane excelled in the classroom and had a way of inspiring her students to reach their full potential. Asking her to become principal was the right step to ensure continued growth and success for our school and parish.”

Every year, the National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA) chooses twelve principals from a pool of more than 6,000 throughout the country and presents them the prestigious NCEA Distinguished Principals Award. Hileman is one of these distinguished principals becoming the first recipient from St. Helena Catholic School. As part of the criteria, Hileman was nominated by assistant superintendent Gary Wilmer for the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. Wilmer said, “nominating Hileman was an easy decision. Jane mentors her teaching staff and empowers them to become more efficient educators. Her excellent understanding of curriculum development has allowed the school, as a result of grants, to be on the cutting edge when it comes to meeting the needs of a diverse student body.”

Hileman received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Carleton College and a master’s degree in education from St. Mary’s University of Minnesota. She has taught school from the preschool to the high school level. As principal of a small school, she does marketing, finance, curriculum development, discipline and religion. Hileman credits Carleton College with preparing her well to wear the many hats essential to a small school administrator. She further notes the best part about being a principal of a Catholic school is that she gets to live her faith at work, learn about her faith and put it into practice.

In addition to her principal roles, Hileman is involved in other endeavors. She served on the Minnesota State Marathon Board for eight years. The Marathon raised $98,999,029 for nonpublic education in Minnesota since its inception in 1974. She also served in a major lead role for the St. Helena parish’s Autumn Daze Festival since 1990 that netted $120,000 in 2012.

Hileman says, “If anyone asks me about being a principal, I always tell them that they will never be bored. I never know what the day will bring. When I was a teacher, I was in control of most things that happened. Now, I never know. You have to be good on your feet and extremely flexible. I spend much time listening to people’s problems, coaching children to success and being supportive of teachers. The job is never ending but the daily rewards are well worth it.”

We sincerely thank principal Jane Hileman for sharing her personal and professional experience for others to learn about her career path with St. Helena Catholic School. We also congratulate her for being selected as one of the prestigious NCEA Distinguished Principals Award.

Dr. Ronald Holmes is the author of three books, “Education Questions to be Answered,” “Current Issues and Answers in Education” and “How to Eradicate Hazing.” He is publisher of “The Holmes Education Post,” an education focused Internet newspaper. Holmes is the national superintendent of education for the National Save the Family Now Movement, Inc., a former teacher, school administrator and district superintendent. He can be reached at [email protected]

Leave a Comment