Today at morning drop off, many of us had the pleasure to witness students joyfully wish Mrs. Renken, sitting on the front terrace in the rocking chair, a Happy Birthday. I am uncertain who derived more pleasure, Mrs. Renken or each student as they offered wishes of happiness to someone so loved and influential in their lives.
As I settled back into my office after this, I began to reflect on two aspects of what I observed.
First, the foundation of this mutual admiration society moment was relationships. Relationships are the essence of Sacred Heart education, modeled from the beginning by Madeleine Sophie Barat, foundress of the Society of the Sacred Heart, who considered the service of education as the primary means by which the Society would carry on its mission of communicating the love of the Heart of Jesus. She sent Philippine Duchesne to America to establish a new school to further this mission. Now, 205 years later, Mrs. Renken lives our Sacred Heart identity as she builds and nurtures relationships within our Academy family every day.
At the same time, I also began to consider the recent Principal job position posting. The position was posted for applicants this early in order to find an educator and leader with a similar heart. Inspired by Mrs. Renken, the description reflects heavily on the importance of relationships; it notes: “The growth of each student, the support for and collaboration with each teacher, and the partnership with every parent is necessary to live the mission of Sacred Heart education.” It continues:
“In recognition of the central role of relationships in the Sacred Heart philosophy, the Principal will:
- Foster authentic relationships with students, faculty, and parents.
- Be aware of the educational, physical, social, and psychological needs of the school community, and develop plans for meeting those needs.
- Maintain healthy partnerships and communication with parents.
- Build a sense of community among faculty through a positive learning environment consistent with the school’s philosophy.”
Mrs. Renken, on behalf of all of us, Happy Birthday. You are a gift to the Academy!
Head of School