New leadership in the Catholic Schools Office
Misty Poe took over as the new superintendent of Catholic Schools in the Diocese of Austin in June after serving as the assistant superintendent of Catholic Schools for five years. She succeeds Ned F. Vanders who retired after 12 years of service. Poe’s 22 years of experience includes being teacher and principal of the Cathedral School of St. Mary in Austin, and Head of Middle School at St. Gabriel Catholic School in Austin.
As a teacher, Poe, who was not Catholic at the time, chose to teach in a Catholic school because of the “faith community, the people, and the ability to share the love of Christ with her students.” This eventually inspired her to convert to Catholicism. Poe enjoyed her time in the classroom and never thought “she would be on the path to become superintendent.” However, Cecilia Abbott, the former principal of the Cathedral School of St. Mary, saw leadership qualities in Poe and encouraged her to move into administration.
For Poe, being a leader means thinking outside the box. She is “always trying to find ways to make the schools better, offer more opportunities, and meet the needs of students.” Poe’s vision for the upcoming school year is to grow enrollment, strengthen each school, meet the needs of students with learning differences and to foster academic excellence.
Robert Whitworth, assistant superintendent, is the newest member of the Catholic Schools leadership team. Prior to coming to the Diocese of Austin in July, Whitworth was principal of Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic School in New Braunfels.
“This is a privilege,” Whitworth said. “I am grateful for the opportunity to be a part of this team. The diocese has embraced me, and I am grateful for the opportunity to look at Catholic schools from this perspective and to be of service to principals and faculty members.”
Whitworth said his focus is Catholic identity. Because parents have options on where to send their children to school, Whitworth explained that the Catholic identity, as well as the community, are what draw people to Catholic schools.
“I think we have a lot to offer. I think we need to let people know that there is a real treasure here, in our Catholic schools,” he said.
Whitworth is looking forward to visiting and working with the schools across the diocese. He encourages students to appreciate the gift of a Catholic education and to allow the Holy Spirit to lead them throughout the year.