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Archdiocese plans national search

By LISA SCHULTE
The Catholic Voice 

A national search is planned to replace the archdiocese's superintendent of schools.

Sister Michelle Faltus, SFCC, who has held the superintendent's job since July 1, 2000, told Catholic school administrators last week that she has resigned to pursue another opportunity.

'Archbishop (Elden Francis) Curtiss appreciates Sister Michelle's service to the archdiocese the past six years," Father Gregory Baxter, moderator of the curia, told The Catholic Voice. 'He knows the work she has done to improve the curriculum and all she has done to continue the fine tradition of Catholic education in the archdiocese."

Father Baxter said a search committee is being formed, with members coming from 'various professional backgrounds."

Sister Faltus worked to bring a Cristo Rey high school to Omaha. Cristo Rey schools are designed for low-income students of any faith and offer a college-prep, work-study-based education. Income from student internships, which consist of one day a week off campus, covers about 75 percent of the student's tuition.

Plans call for opening the Cristo Rey high school, which will be located in the former St. Mary School in Omaha, in the fall of 2007. The first class will consist of 100 freshmen.

As part of the Cristo Rey network, the school also receives a Gates Foundation grant of $800,000 to help with initial costs.

Sister Faltus also founded the Institute of Learning, a program that provides opportunities for educators in Catholic schools to improve their teaching techniques. Nearly 800 teachers participate in the sessions each year. Teachers are given the opportunity to select from seven sessions "“ Foundations of Faith, Curriculum, Study Skills, Counseling, Special Needs, Six Traits and Technology.

As an example, the Foundations in Faith session, operated with the assistance of a council consisting of pastors, principals, teachers and parents, is designed to provide a foundation in Catholic Church teachings for all educators in the archdiocese's school system. One of the goals is for teachers to have a common base of knowledge of Catholic doctrine and practices as they integrate and apply Catholic teachings to their lessons.

Sister Faltus came to Omaha from Indiana, where she was director of curriculum for Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Indianapolis.

She also served as superintendent of Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Kansas City, Kan.

Her resignation takes effect June 30.

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