GRACE Teacher-Leaders Rise to the Challenge

May 20, 2020

Article from our 2020 Spring Fulcrum News

In this time of crisis, teachers are stepping up to lead. The Fulcrum Foundation gave them the tools they needed to do it.

Julie Prepotente, a first-year principal at St. Matthew School in Seattle, credits the Fulcrum Foundation and the Office for Catholic Schools (OCS) for their launch of the GRACE (Guiding Regionally, Advancing Catholic Education) Program. With a total of 135 participants, the GRACE Program offers professional development in instructional leadership for the Archdiocese of Seattle Catholic schools.

In the transition to remote learning, Julie said she relied on the help of two teachers in particular, Martha DeSapio and Greg Hawksford—both GRACE teacher-leaders for St. Matthew.

“Our principals have an incredibly hard job,” Martha said. “The GRACE Program showed us how we can support our principals and our students.”

This method of collective leadership and collaboration provided the GRACE teachers the skills they needed to respond to the crisis. Martha and Greg spearheaded the school’s efforts to move to remote learning after the school buildings were closed. “We set up a plan and offered to send home laptops and even desks for students,” Martha said.

“They were just on it,” Julie recalled. “They came to me and said, ‘We know you have a lot to do—we’ll take over planning the distance learning to help out.’ And then they just took off. It was magical to see.”

Fulcrum’s leadership training helped make it all possible.

“Fulcrum has really been an incredible partner to St. Matthew School over the years, supporting us through many projects and fundraising,” said Julie. “We appreciate everything Fulcrum does to support Catholic schools and to continue the mission of the Church.”