School Leaders Academy

August 2024-May 2025


The 2024-2025 cohort is now full. To be notified when application opens for the next School Leaders Academy, please click the “Register” button at the top of this page.

This 10-month executive coaching program supports Catholic school leaders who are in the process of renewing their schools. The participants in the cohort benefit from the personal mentorship of two veteran Catholic educators with over five decades of combined experience with the Church’s vision of liberal arts education. Since a significant benefit of the program is the experience and commitment of the cohort itself, participants in the School Leaders Academy are selected through an application process.


The course focuses on ICLE’s Five Pillars of School Leadership:

1. Vision
2. Pedagogy
3. Curriculum
4. Environment
5. Management


The program begins with a mandatory online orientation retreat in August. Subsequent meetings take place on the first and third Tuesdays of each month, 60-90 minutes each. Participants also receive a monthly half-hour, one-on-one coaching call with a program leader.

Members of the cohort are also invited to an optional, special School Leaders Forum to be held at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic School (Denver, CO) to see the Catholic liberal education approach in action at a flagship ICLE Premier Member School. Dates are TBD. Travel and lodging for the Forum are not included.


Cohorts are determined on an application basis. Preference is given to those who display a sincere desire to learn and grow, and whose experience will contribute to the collective wisdom of the cohort. Regular attendance, active participation, and the completion of homework assignments are necessary for the full benefit of leadership formation; participants must be able to commit time and effort to the program. Rolling admission.



*Travel and lodging for visit to flagship member school not included.


Two payment options are offered.

1. Program cost paid in full by August 1st
2. 10-month automatic, online payment plan ($495/month) begun in August and concluded in May of the following year

We are happy to assist accepted applicants in requesting funding from benefactors, school administration, or dioceses by providing sponsorship letters, informational materials about the program, and a sample letter.


Title funds (federal monies administered by your Local Educational Agency) may be available to help offset participant costs related to this program. Past participants in this program have successfully secured partial title funding. Please review some helpful information here.


A limited number of partial, needs-based scholarships are reserved specifically for clergy and vowed religious interested in participating in this program. If you are a member of the clergy or a vowed religious interested in applying for a scholarship, please complete this scholarship request form.


Continuing Education Credits (CEUs) are granted for participation in ICLE workshops, programs, and events. You may request a certificate of completion for a previous event HERE


Cancellations received at least 60 days in advance of the start of the program will be honored with a full refund for any payments made. Cancellations received at least 30 days in advance will receive a 50% refund for any payments made. Program cancellations received less than 30 days in advance or after the program begins will receive no refund for any payments made. Please allow up to 30 days for a refund to be processed by ICLE.


For any questions, please contact Rosemary Vander Weele, Program Leader, at



Rosemary Vander Weele  – Program Leader and Principal Trainer for Monthly Sessions

Rosemary was born and raised in Denver, Colorado. She earned an undergraduate degree from Franciscan University of Steubenville and graduate degrees in Catholic Leadership from the Augustine Institute and Education Administration from Regis University. In 2011, after teaching middle school English and history for seven years, Rosemary was appointed principal of Our Lady of Lourdes, which at the time had less than 100 students and was identified for closure the following year. At the encouragement of then-Auxiliary Bishop James Conley, she led the school through a renewal in the Catholic liberal arts that resulted in a return to maximum enrollment within seven years and the addition of a second campus in the fall of 2018. Rosemary now serves as President of Our Lady of Lourdes, overseeing the continued development of both campuses, and as Faculty for ICLE.

Michael J. Van Hecke, M.Ed. – High School Leader Mentor and Contributing Commentator in Monthly Sessions

Michael is the President and Founder of The Institute for Catholic Liberal Education. He has been a Catholic educator for 30 years, most recently serving as Headmaster of St. Augustine Academy in Ventura for 20 years. He received a B.A. in classical Liberal Arts from Thomas Aquinas College and an M.Ed. in Educational Administration from the University of North Texas. He is President and Publisher of the Catholic Textbook Project, a company producing the first history textbooks specifically for Catholic Schools in nearly 50 years. As a consultant and speaker, Michael loves to share his passion for Catholic liberal education across the country. When not doing that, he enjoys life with his wife doting on grandchildren and tending on their avocado ranch in bucolic Santa Paula, California.

What Past Participants Say

"I feel confident in my understanding of the mission of a Catholic school. You've helped form me into a mission-driven leader, on fire for the tremendous work we have before us in transforming secular culture and preserving our Catholic culture through education."

"What was most helpful was the reassurance I got from the rest of the group that the struggles I am experiencing are normal. It was great to be 'on the ground' with people of a like mind and to hear what they've done to renew their own school communities. I am thankful to the Lord for providing the opportunity to participate in the SLA, and am especially grateful to Rosemary and Mike. Thank you, both!"

"For me as a leader and as a Christian it was a great opportunity to understand more profoundly the essence of my mission as an educational leader. Being around faithful and courageous leaders gave me a lot of hope and certainty that the path we are following is the correct way to go. Thank you for your witness of love for the educational mission of the Catholic Church. "

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