On October 30th, AdvancEd, the organization that accredits primary and secondary schools throughout the United States (including Cristo Rey St. Martin) held its two-day Midwest Regional Conference in Chicago.
During the Conference Liz Livingston Howard, Clinical Professor of Management at the Northwestern Kellogg Center for Nonprofit Management hosted a seminar and discussion regarding her recently authored case study. The seventeen page study titled: “Building A Strong School Culture – A Leadership Challenge” documented and analyzed the remarkable transformation and growth of Cristo Rey St. Martin College Prep.
“…Cristo Rey St. Martin College Preparatory (CRSM) based in Waukegan, Illinois, had been in operation since 2004 (when the school was known as St. Martin de Porres). Both president Preston Kendall and principal Mike Odiotti inherited a highly challenging situation that required revamping structures and systems while implementing solutions to improve on key metrics and create a culture of empowerment and accountability.
Kendall and Odiotti led improvements in hiring, curriculum design, the work-study program, and facilities, which resulted in dramatic financial, academic, and cultural improvements, making CRSM an exemplary Cristo Rey Network school.”
(Gail Berger and Liz Livingston Howard, “Creating a Culture of Empowerment and Accountability at St. Martin de Porres High School (A),” Case #5-410-755(A) – Kellogg School of Management, 2010)
School president Preston Kendall and principal Mike Odiotti attended the presentation and were asked to speak about the challenges they faced and the tactics that were most successful. The session ended after a short Q&A with the audience of school principals and presidents. Both Kendall and Odiotti fielded questions about what they believed to be the most important factor that contributed to the success of the school.
Both seemed to agree with the other’s answer, “The success of the school is directly attributable to shared vision.”
Michael Odiotti added, “Ask any person at the school, student or staff, and they could rattle-off our mission for you; get ready for college, prepare to be professional at work and make the world a better place.”