Saturday, March 2, 2019

First Male Leader of Sacred Hearts to Focus on Empowering Women

Scott Schroeder, a dean at Chaminade University,
will take over as head of school at
Sacred Hearts Academy when longtime
leader Betty White retires this summer.
Do you subscribe to the Star-Advertiser? Check out an article by Susan Essoyan featuring Sacred Hearts Academy's new Head of School, Dr. Scott Schroeder


After a nationwide search, Sacred Hearts Academy has decided the best person to replace its longtime leader, Betty White, is right in its Kaimuki neighborhood. 
Scott Schroeder, professor of management and dean of Chaminade University’s School of Business and Communication, will be the first male head of school in the 110-year history of the all-girls Catholic institution. He will join Sacred Hearts on July 1. 
“Every day we teach our girls that gender doesn’t matter,” Gwen Yamamoto Lau, chairwoman of the academy’s board of directors, said in an interview. “It’s the person most qualified for the job, for the team, for the play, whatever it is. … So similarly, when we were selecting our head of school, gender did not stand in the way of us selecting the very best candidate." 
The move does not signal any change in its commitment to women’s education, officials said. 
“As the academy’s first male head of school, Dr. Schroeder will continue the academy’s mission of empowering women to make an impact in our world,” White said. “His appointment magnifies the vital importance that this empowerment comes through the collective and collaborative efforts of both males and females in our daily lives.”
White came to Sacred Hearts fresh out of college as a teacher, and her career there spans 48 years, the last 28 as head of school. In January 2018 she announced her intention to retire, and she will overlap with her successor for a month before retiring July 31.
Schroeder knows the school well already, having served on its board of directors since July 2013 and as chairman as of July 2017. He stepped down from the board in October to apply for the position as head of school. 
“He is such a humble leader, it was not until he actually applied and we reviewed his resume, I was just blown away at his caliber and credentials,” Lau said. 
Sister Regina Mary Jenkins, president of the Sacred Hearts Academy Corporation, cited Schroeder’s “proven track record and vast experience in education” in announcing the appointment Thursday.
Schroeder earned his bachelor’s degree from Santa Clara University, his M.B.A. at Arizona State University and Ph.D. from the University of California at Los Angeles, specializing in management and psychology. He also did postgraduate work as a fellow at Harvard’s Institute for Management and Leadership in Education.
“I am committed to Sacred Hearts being a school where you can’t wait to get to in the morning, a place where you are helped to do your best and develop great memories,” he told students and faculty at an assembly Thursday. 
Along with his Chaminade experience, Schroeder developed a graduate program at Antioch University, taught at Claremont Graduate University and was dean of academic affairs at the Bainbridge Graduate Institute. 
Lau called his focus on organizational leadership and strategy “a huge plus” along with his commitment to teaching. 
“He’s been in the administrative roles, but he’s kept the faculty lens, too, because he still teaches,” Lau said. “That keeps him grounded, keeps him connected to students. … And with his interest in psychology, he really understands how to work with people at many different levels.” 
The school has 885 students in preschool through grade 12. With a faculty and staff of 120, there are just two nuns remaining on the faculty. 
White navigated the transition from a faculty made up largely of members of the religious order, who served for love, to lay teachers, a financial challenge that has tripped up some other Catholic schools.
“Betty’s incredible leadership and management skills have played an integral role in evolving our academy into the outstanding educational institution it is today,” Lau said. “We have been extremely blessed to have Betty with us for so many years.” 
White shepherded Sacred Hearts into a new age, adding a student center, performing arts center, visual arts center and multiple science and computer labs. She spearheaded programs for girls in science, technology, engineering and math.
“She has served as a mentor and positive role model to thousands of Hawaii’s young women, inspiring them to become leaders with character in our communities,” Lau said.
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