RCCSS welcomes new superintendent
By Mark Kay McPartlin
A cross-country camping trip brought Julie and her husband, Clay, through the area before he was to retire from the U.S. Marine Corps.
“We kept saying, ‘I could live here. I love it,’” Julie says. “We always knew we would leave California after Clay retired.”
When Julie began exploring employment opportunities, she found the superintendent posting with RCCSS. It was just where she and Clay wanted to be. The Holy Spirit clearly brought RCCSS and Julie together to provide a strong faith-filled Catholic education for families in Rapid City.
Her entire career as an educator has focused on service. First to serve children as a classroom teacher, then to serve teachers as a principal, and now to serve principals, teachers, and students as a superintendent.
“I really became an administrator for the teachers,” Julie explained. And now, as a superintendent, I see a great opportunity to support and collaborate with principals, but also with board members, teachers, staff, parents, students, and community leaders.”
Her positive experiences guide her focus as superintendent. Collaboration is at the heart of every thriving school system, Julie believes.
“I love the opportunity to pull everybody’s ideas together and create something better,” says Julie.
Organization is one of her greatest strengths, and Julie isn’t afraid of challenges. “Organization gives people comfort because there is a system in place. I enjoy tackling problems and looking at things under a microscope; we should always be striving to improve,” she says.
Julie began full time with the RCCSS July 1, but has been immersed in discussions with the school system throughout this school year, working with Interim Superintendent Robert Aberle.
“They invited me to the Cavalier weekend last year. I came away from the weekend so enthusiastic to start. It’s been fun getting to know the community,” Julie says. “Robert and his team have been so gracious with their time helping to prepare me. I feel ready to hit the deck running.”
Julie and RCCSS have a shared vision for growth. One of her goals is to reach more families in Rapid City in promoting the strengths of Catholic education — faith and vigorous academics.
“We will continue to maintain our strong Catholic roots and excellence of Catholic education while building our faith community and increasing involvement,” says Julie. “We want students to develop values, compassion, work ethic, and leadership skills.”
Keeping the students engaged is vital to success. “I love exploring student engagement,” says Julie. “How do we engage students in the classroom? How do we change our teaching so we can engage them the way they want to be engaged? It’s something that can be applied across all grade levels.” Another goal is to balance technology with other educational tools. “Technology is a challenge. It’s a great tool when used ethically in combination with strong instructional pedagogy and curriculum,” says Julie. “We want to capture the best of education.”
Professional development is very important for growth, Julie believes. “The best thing we can do for teachers is give them the gift of time to collaborate, learn, and grow,” she says. “One of my responsibilities. is to help bring great tools and professional development for the teachers and staff.”
The secret weapon for Julie and the RCCSS? Faith is the foundation for everything. “Ultimately, the goal is to get everyone to heaven,” Julie says. “It is important to teach our students Catholic virtues and thread those virtues throughout their whole day. To have them recognize they are Christ for others and create the habit of doing good. I love that this is bigger than any one of us. It’s for the greater good.”
(Excerpts from “The Cavalier” and with permission. Read the full article at catholicmagazines.org/magazine-archive/cavalier /rap-sum23)