What’s the Difference Between a President and a Principal?

FOB and Jim

It’s been a big week at Bishop Kelley High School! We’ve celebrated Easter, had success on the athletic fields and at State choir competition. We took the ACT and our Class of 2017 began their end of the year activities with the Senior Mass of Thanksgiving. It’s also Auction Week, our biggest event of the year. Oh by the way, we also announced the hiring of a new principal. Mr. Jim Franz will begin July 1st as Bishop Kelley’s academic leader. For more information on Mr. Franz check out our website and watch the press conference.
When the news went out that we had hired Jim, a few people called or texted and said “I thought you were the principal!” Well I’m not. Since June of 2009, I’ve had the privilege of serving as the President of Bishop Kelley High School.
So what’s the difference between a president and a principal? Why the need for both?
The simplest way to put it is that the president’s focus is outward and the principal’s focus is inward. Here at Bishop Kelley, it’s not always as clean as outward/inward as I try to take a genuine interest in the life of the school, especially the spiritual well being of our 904 students but generally speaking that’s the way it works. The President/Principal model has been around for two decades originating in Jesuit run schools. Of the 1200 Catholic high schools in the United States, about 56% operate using this model of school leadership.
As president, I am to focus on the spiritual life of the school, fundraising, admissions, strategic planning, alumni relations, and building projects. That requires being off campus quite a bit promoting the school and our mission. The principal focuses on the day to day operations including curriculum, technology, and teacher coaching and evaluation. This is done, for both of us, with a lot of help. Here at BK, our administrative team is an experienced and talented group. It includes CFO Rick Musto and Director of Advancement Doug Thomas. Both report to me directly. We also have Dean of Students Jeff Pratt, Vice-Principal for Academics Judith McMasters, Director of Student Activities Gary Oberste, and Athletic Director Lance Parks all who will report to Mr. Franz.
I hope this brief explanation helps everyone understand how the it works here at BK. As the 2017-18 school year gets underway in August, you’ll hear more about our model of leadership and how it will help us have even greater success in our preparing our students for college, for life, and for heaven.
Happy Easter!
Fr. O’Brien
For a more detailed look at the President/Principal model follow this link.
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About Rev. Brian O'Brien

Priest of the Diocese of Tulsa and President of Bishop Kelley High School in Tulsa, OK.
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