Center for Ethics and Leadership

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Former St. Joseph's Dean to Lead Effort for Camden Schools

Few cities in America are as bad off as Camden, NJ. Its per capita income is either last or next to last among America's cities. Thirty-five percent of its residents are under the age of 18, and 57 percent of them live in poverty. The schools are correspondingly poor.

As a partial answer to the ongoing crisis that is Camden, the diocese is partnering with the International Education Foundation (IEF) to create the Catholic Schools Partnership. This initiative will bring five elementary schools, four in Camden and one on the Camden-Pennsauken border, under the guidance of a five-person management team and a 12-person board of directors. Their task will be to bring the best educational and business models possible to the schools to enable them to survive, and perhaps thrive in the difficult circumstances that are part of everyday living in Camden.

The IEF was founded by Robert T. Healy, an alumnus of Camden Catholic High School and St. Joseph's University. Dr. Robert Palestini, former dean of St. Joseph's division of graduate and continuing studies and accomplished educator, will head the management team. Other leaders in Camden, including Msgr. Robert McDermott, pastor of St. Joseph's Procathedral in Camden, will play a role on either the board or management team.

Here is an example of leadership at its best, and here's hoping that the initiative succeeds beyond the team's wildest dreams.


  • Innovation in education is desperately needed. Camden seems to be willing to pioneer partnerships that other areas and interest groups tend to resist. I recently read an article about some of the changes going on in the DC school district, and again, it seems that some new ideas are bringing positive change to children. Both of these areas have incredible needs.

    Leadership is dependent upon followership. Let us hope that the leaders are able to develop a vision and the followers willing to stay a course. We live in an age where we have come to expect instantaneous results, which is not realistic.

    Hats off to the innovators, lead on...

    By Blogger kobe2, At November 26, 2008 12:31 PM  

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