***Life Announcement***

On Friday, I was informed that my position at St. Peter’s School was being eliminated. Yes, shocking and sucks, but parish leadership is forcing the school to make deep cuts. As a full-time employee with benefits, I am a big target on the budget line and will have the least impact on students in the classroom.

Life changes are never easy, especially when you have a family to support. However, I’m proud of the work that I’ve done over the last eight years. I walked in the door without formal fundraising experience to embark on a capital campaign that raised $2.6 million to restore our parish church and renovate the high school auditorium. Produced numerous fundraisers from galas to flower sales, evolved our tuition drive into an annual fund, and after more than a little prodding, jumped headfirst into Richland Gives, and our efforts were an instant success.

In 2020, I added marketing and communication duties to my role. As the world shut down in March of that year, I was still in the office almost daily – I was essential. For 68 weeks, I shot, produced, and edited a multi-camera 30-minute Sunday Mass that helped keep our parishioners and thousands of other Catholics worldwide connected to their faith during a time when they could not celebrate Mass in person.

Using my multimedia talents, I’ve produced nearly every piece of collateral in-house, from print to digital, for enrollment, fundraising, athletics, and the Sunday bulletin. I worked to standardize the brand look for the school (PMS 281 & PMS 116 if you’re wondering what colors Spartan blue and gold are.) and shot probably tens of thousands of photos of everyday student life.

I’m proud of my accomplishments over the last eight years. I went to work every day for the betterment of Catholic education in Mansfield. The many 50-60 hours workweeks, the stints where I would be on campus for at least four hours a day for 21 days straight were all worth it when I saw a smile on a child’s face or the hugs from a kindergartener. It was all worth it watching students succeed. Knowing that David and Katie benefited along with everyone else was worth it.

I was far from perfect, and I know I made many mistakes along the way. I did my best to keep all the plates spinning on their poles, but I broke many along the way. Overall, I did my job to the best of my abilities.

Ironically, tonight is the one-year anniversary of the tree falling on our house. It was the first of several challenges my family faced over the last year. I flamed out more than once from the stress. So, getting this news on Friday was the capstone to an otherwise turbulent year. The good news is that I get to put this year behind me and start a new one tomorrow.

I’m excited for the next challenge – whatever that may be. We have made our home in Mansfield, and I really want to stay here – especially since I moved my elderly father back here last year. I will keep an open mind and open heart about what that next chapter will be. Please reach out if you know of a job opening where I would excel. Ten years ago, I reinvented myself, so maybe it’s time to do that again.

While I’ll no longer be employed by St. Peter’s, you can’t drain the Spartan out of my blood. My family has been part of Mansfield and the St. Peter’s family for more than 110 years. I’m sure my grandfather is raising cane in heaven over this, but I’m also sure my mom and grandmother are telling him everything will be fine. In a couple of months, my title will just be Dad. I am kinda looking forward to that.

However, I will continue to be an outspoken advocate for the future of Catholic education in Mansfield and an even louder advocate for a new governance model for our school.

St. Peter’s will only flourish when there is a governing board with full authority to operate the school from the Diocese. The last ten years have shown that pastoral leadership does not have the skill set or the time to manage a 21st-century school system of our size. The previous two years also prove that solid day-to-day administration of the school can make a ten-fold difference in academic progress.

Mansfield and Richland County are primed for amazing growth. St. Peter’s needs to be here as a strong beacon of academic excellence and strong moral character building.

I’m grateful to Laurie McKeon for her leadership, friendship, and generosity these last two years. She has moved the ship in the right direction, despite the daily high seas that continue to attempt to knock us off course. This was not an easy decision, but our students always come first.

I’ll make the best of these final days at the corner of Mulberry and 1st Street. Fortunately, I still have a bunch of vacation time.

Finally, I appreciate your prayers and support, but if you’ve made it this far in reading and believe that my work has made an impact, I ask that you make a gift to the St. Peter’s Annual Fund and dedicate it in honor of me. It’s the best way I can think of to express your support and thanks.

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