Sister Keating applauded for educating ‘Mind, Heart and Spirit’

July 16, 2013

HOUSTON — Following six years of “Educating Heart, Mind and Spirit” within the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, Sister Kevina Keating, CCVI, resigned her post as Superintendent of Catholic Schools this past June.

“Sister Kevina has been an amazing leader for the principals, Catholic Schools Office and Superintendents in Texas and with the NCEA (National Catholic Educational Association),” said Janie Hengst, John Paul II Principal. “She listened to what the principals had to say and she tried very hard to resolve any concerns or issues affecting them or their schools.”

In praising Sister Keating’s leadership, Monsignor Frank H. Rossi, St. Michael School pastor, described her as a “perfect blend of Irish tenacity and Catholic commitment.”

“As I reflect on the tenure of Sister Kevina as our Archdiocesan Superintendent of Schools, it is clear that the Holy Spirit was at work in her selection and her ministry,” he said. “Sister Kevina was an unwavering advocate of Catholic education and a tireless minister to the faculty, staff and students of the Catholic schools of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston. Her lasting legacy will be that she breathed a spirit of excitement, pride and love into our schools.”

Sister Keating led the initiative to have the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston host the NCEA national convention this past April, welcoming thousands of Catholic school educators and parish catechists to the Bayou City. Hengst, the recipient of the 2013 NCEA Distinguished Principal Award (Elementary Schools Department), regarded Sister Keating’s years-long efforts to bring the conference to Texas as a “huge accomplishment” for the local Church.

“I personally have been very impressed with all that Sister Kevina has accomplished in the Archdiocese,” Hengst said. “The schools in the Archdiocese are growing when many schools in other parts of the country are closing.”

Four years ago, Sister Keating showed her faith in the future of Catholic education by challenging the St. Rose School community to expand and integrate the middle school classifications at a time when enrollments were down. 

With Principal Cathy Stephen working closely with Sister Keating, the school successfully responded to the challenge and witnessed an increase in overall enrollment.

“Since that time, we have doubled our registration numbers from 98 to 225 students at St. Rose and graduated our first eighth graders,” Stephen said. “We appreciate the guidance, professionalism and faith that Sister Kevina showed us. Her mentorship in my leadership will always be remembered.”

Galveston-Houston has the largest private school network in Texas. At the close of this past academic year, there were 59 Catholic schools in the Archdiocese, spanning six counties and 23 public school districts. Archdiocesan Catholic schools currently have their highest enrollment in 33 years, serving more than 18,000 students. A new high school, Frassati Catholic High School in Spring, is set to open this fall.

“Sister Kevina has brought our Catholic schools together to create a united effort of Catholic education in the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston,” said Diane Wooten, St. Francis de Sales School principal. St. Francis de Sales School received the Catherine T. McNamee Award at the recent NCEA Conference, given for leadership in promoting Catholic education that welcomes and serves cultural and economic diversity. “In my 37 years of being involved in Catholic education in this Archdiocese, I have been most impressed with Sister Kevina’s dedication and vision for the future of our Catholic schools.”

A farewell reception was celebrated in Sister Keating’s honor on June 4 at the St. Dominic Center Auditorium. Principals, priests, chancery employees and the Catholic Schools Office staff were present for the event. Daniel Cardinal DiNardo was among those who spoke during the assembly.

“Sister Kevina found remarkable ways to bring a renewed enthusiasm to the educational ministry within our schools,” Cardinal DiNardo said. “With her leadership, the Catholic school education program in the Archdiocese has strengthened and thrived in furtherance of the Church’s long-standing tradition of forming holy and knowledgeable students and young people.”

Cardinal DiNardo expressed his gratitude to Sister Keating for “her zeal and joy in serving God’s children and forming their hearts and minds in faithful witness to the truths that they interiorized during their academic and spiritual instruction. It is with tremendous appreciation for her dedication and service that I assure Sister Kevina of my continued best wishes in the Lord.”

Dr. George Laird currently serves as interim superintendent for Catholic schools of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston.