School Leaders Academy

July 2020-May 2021 | Online

This program is full for the current academic year. Please check back in early 2021 for more information on next year’s program or contact us for more information. 

This 10-month executive coaching program supports Catholic school leaders who are in the process of renewing their schools. The inaugural cohort will be limited to 12 participants who will 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 will be selected through an application process. 

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

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

Each month different aspects of each pillar will be studied in depth and participants will come away with concrete plans and support as they move through the process of renewal. Participants will be guided through exercises that will offer substantial practical tools for immediate use in the following areas:

  • Mission Statements
  • Parent Education
  • Faculty Formation
  • Curriculum Integration
  • Prayer
  • Enrollment Management
  • Marketing
  • Hiring
  • Culture
  • Fundraising

Format: A three day, online orientation retreat will take place the week of July 20 (timing TBA; no more than 3 hours each day). Subsequent meetings will take place the first and third week of each month, 60-90 minutes each. Participants will also receive a monthly half-hour, one-on-one coaching call with a program leader. 

Application process: Due to the limited size of this program (12), the cohort will be determined on an application basis. Preference will be given to those who display a sincere desire to learn and grow and whose experience will contribute to the collective wisdom of the cohort.

Cost: $4,950 (can be paid in installments according to your needs)
We have found that many benefactors, having led successful initiatives of their own, appreciate the importance of intensive leadership development and quality mentorship. With that in mind, we are happy to assist accepted applicants in acquiring funding by providing sponsorship letters (see sample below), promotional materials, referrals, etc.

Additionally, school leaders should be aware that many schools are able to fund professional development for heads of schools via Federal Title funding. Importantly, see HERE for a recent policy letter from U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos indicating that such funding for secular services from religious organizations does not violate the Establishment clause. If you have questions regarding Title funding, please feel free to contact us at for guidance.

For more information on the ICLE School Leaders Academy,
contact Rosemary Vander Weele:

Meet your mentors: Vander Weele 

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.

Michael J. Van Hecke, M.Ed. 

Michael is the President and Founder of The Institute for Catholic Liberal Education. He has been a Catholic educator for 25 years, currently serving as President of St. Augustine Academy in Ventura. He received a B.A. in 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 and three children on their avocado ranch in bucolic Santa Paula, California.