Strengthening Teacher Leadership Through PACE

March 27, 2021

2021 Ffu 421 Akindt

Teaching is a calling.

There has been no greater demonstration of this than the dedication of Catholic school teachers who, despite the uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, worked tirelessly to keep classes going online and get students back into school for in-person learning.

The Fulcrum Foundation supports archdiocesan educators through leadership development programs and grants. In recent years, the Pacific Alliance for Catholic Education (PACE), a two-year graduate teaching program at the University of Portland, has partnered with Fulcrum and the Archdiocese of Seattle to create and sustain careers in Catholic education.

The PACE program places teachers in Catholic schools throughout the Northwest. PACE teachers live in community with one another, sharing housing to support their spiritual and professional development.

“It seems that each year, we send more and more teachers into the Archdiocese of Seattle,” said Gary Beckley, the assistant dean of the PACE program. “In the Seattle metro area, we have expanded from one house to two, and this year we will be adding a third. Throughout the archdiocese, we now have over twenty teachers serving in Catholic schools. Fulcrum continues to support this partnership by helping place teachers, support our housing efforts, and maintain strong and healthy relationships within the archdiocese.”

Abbey Kindt, a teacher at St. Bernadette School, participated in the PACE program from 2015-2017, graduating with a Master of Education. She later joined Fulcrum’s GRACE (Guiding Regionally, Advancing Catholic Education) program to become a GRACE teacher-leader for her school.

“I feel as though I achieved a great deal through the PACE program and continue to do so in the GRACE program,” said Abbey. “The PACE program taught me the importance of having a strong community. Being an educator is a calling that requires everyone involved to give one another grace and understanding, and that is certainly something I learned from PACE that has carried into my time as a GRACE teacher.”

Abbey’s time in the PACE and GRACE programs has brought her new opportunities, personal and professional relationships with her fellow Catholic teachers, and a strong sense of community. Abbey has been working closely with her principal at St. Bernadette and other GRACE teacher-leaders to create a positive, supportive environment for staff and students before and during the pandemic.

“We have implemented new traditions, learned new practices and methods, and encouraged staff to join us in continuing to be life-long learners, just as we encourage our students,” said Abbey.

The success of PACE and GRACE teachers in the Archdiocese of Seattle all comes back to the generosity of Fulcrum donors, who help make programs like this possible.

“Thank you, Fulcrum donors, for your financial, personal, and prayerful support of Catholic schools, students, and staff,” said Abbey. “Now more than ever, in this continued time of struggle for so many, our schools rely on your generosity and I am so grateful for your continued support.”

For more information about leadership development opportunities through Fulcrum, contact Kelly Surapaneni, coordinator for leadership development, at KSurapaneni@fulcrumfoundation.org.