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Sunday, July 22, 2018

Principal Finds Right Spot

Rob RogersEvery time Rob Rogers drove by St. Catherine’s of Siena on South Central Avenue, he would have a little conversation with himself.


“I live in South Phoenix and I would pass almost daily and always in the back of my mind I thought if the job of principal ever opened up. I would be very interested in it.


“The job came up just about the time I was ready to become a principal and it has worked out perfectly,” he said.


Rogers was already a veteran vice principal, having worked at both Brophy College Prep and St. Mary’s Basilica in Phoenix, but he felt it was time to move on.


“St. Catherine’s is a perfect mix,” he said. “It’s a great combination to know you are serving students with a world-view purpose and knowing you are serving God. The school is a good vehicle for that.”


“In our faith we say ‘Jesus is the way, the truth and the life.’ It is all about getting to the truth whether it is through science or a math equation or history dates of reasons why we went to war,” he said. “We are always trying to get the truth.”


Rogers has been an educator in one form or another for 23 years. His original plan was to graduate college and become an athletic administrator.


After college, Rogers did work for a while in athletic administration before returning to his alma mater, Walsh Jesuit High School in Ohio, to work as director of admissions.

That set him on his career path.


“As I worked there, I had a greater appreciation of a Catholic education,” he said. So, Rogers returned to school and earned his masters degree in education and administration at Ursuline College in Ohio and his teaching certificate from Xavier University in Cincinnati.


“My Mom always said, ‘You’d be a great teacher,’” she was right,” he said.


“So, while I was in Cincinnati, I was able to coach football at both public and Catholic schools,” he said. “It was a great experience to help me become an administrator.”


As it turned out, his career path led him to the Southwest. The Rogers family moved to Phoenix about eight years ago. “It feels like home,” he said.


He is married to wife Dawn. The couple has a daughter, Hazel who is a freshman in high school and son Owen, a senior. Both attend Catholic high schools.

After serving as vice principal at two local Catholic schools, he took the helm at St. Catherine’s at the beginning of this school year.


He said the St. Catherine’s is a unique parish and school community.


“There is a great balance of rich, devout faith, but also the families are hungry for education,” he said.


He said St. Catherine’s school, which serves preschoolers through middle school, already has a very strong foundation for students, but he would like to make a few changes.


“I would like to increase academic standards, which are high, but I want to make them higher,” he said. “I want our graduates to go to any high school they choose.”


He said he would like to enhance classes in science, technology, engineering and math and he acknowledges that stepping up in the area of technology will be expensive, but he is sure the community will back him up.


“We have some alumni and a lot of families who are invested. They are committed here.”


“Just this week I had a good meeting with an alumni who has his children here and some business leaders who are very committed to the school,” he said.


“We have hired four new teachers for the junior high and each has a master’s degree,” he said. “We have a preschool with three full-time teachers with more than 25 years of experience.”


The school serves about 210 students of which a large number qualify for free breakfast and lunch.


“Regardless of income level, they are committed. They are a mixture I have not seen of school and religion,” he said.


The school has a rich history having been founded in 1949.


“We are established,” he said with a chuckle.                                Street fair














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