My husband, Dr. Tom Salvi, and I have lived in Crystal Lake for the past twenty-five years. We have sent our seven children to both St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic School and Marian Central Catholic High School for the past nineteen consecutive years. Specifically concerning our high schoolers, we were active in supporting all our kids’ events and the Marian fundraisers: variety shows, musicals, pit orchestra, madrigals, basketball, tennis, football, floor hockey, Spanish honor society, key club, pro-life club, scholastic bowl, math club, homecomings, turnabout dances, proms, auctions, raffles, etc. We always sought to increase the Catholicity in the school and tried to push back the wave of the Common Core/social justice agenda/“teach for the test score” versus a Catholic faith/critical thinking/classical method of teaching.
After the extremely un-Christian way that Marian’s former Superintendent Andy Edmonson was terminated in 2016, Marian’s Council of Administration approved an ad hoc Leadership Advisory Committee that was commissioned with four specific goals: 1) to understand the root cause for the breakdown of trust leading to high turnover in staff; 2) to build bridges and restore trust among various constituents within the Marian community who had opposing views on how to improve the school; 3) to address the Catholicity of Marian’s culture; and 4) to define the required attributes, experience, and leadership skills of the ideal Superintendent to lead Marian Central. I was among fifteen persons selected to serve on this ad hoc committee. We began our meetings in early 2017 and continued work for the next nine months to eventually deliver the Summary of cause and recommended action report (read more).
All four of the above-stated goals were important, but I took special interest in the committee’s focus on addressing Marian’s Catholic culture. As a group we identified the following three main areas impacting Marian Central: 1) Spirituality; 2) Athletics/Extracurricular Activities; and 3) Academics. We studied the school’s Mission Statement, “Pilgrims on the Way of Truth” (the Way and Truth, of course, being Jesus Christ), and developed a strategy on how all activities of the school should be in clear alignment with this mission. The meetings to increase the Catholic faith in the overall spirituality of the school and within sports and activities were received very positively by the coaches and staff and were given tremendous support by Marian’s newly hired superintendent, Mr. Steve Baldwin (read more).
Unfortunately, we never got the opportunity to address the Catholicity within the classroom and curriculum, and my role as chairperson for the Academics segment was never enacted. It seems persons within the school and the Diocesan Administration had a different agenda at the time—that of removing Mr. Baldwin. Thus, our Leadership Advisory Committee’s immediate attention was switched to addressing the illogical claims by the Diocese that Mr. Baldwin had not followed Diocesan rules in the implementation of the new 1:1 computer program (a program that Marian now publicly praises, by the way) (read more).
It is unfortunate that I now have to resort to using this recent mode of communication to address the various concerns at Marian Central Catholic High School. However, as of July 12, 2018 (see specifically, “Bishop Malloy is placing the current Council into abeyance until these changes can be made. This means there shall be no meetings, communication from, or actions by the Council at this time”), (read more) and then August 17, 2018 (“…the current body of the Council of Administration is no longer envisioned by the By-laws and so it ceases to exist”), the input of all Council members was completely silenced and removed.
I want to point out that even though all Marian Councils and their meetings were thus ordered to cease and desist, the August 17th letter is ipso facto a continuation of the meetings, albeit one that only contains the Diocese’s narrative of the events at hand (read more).
With respect to this narrative, people have asked me personally why I had asked for a change in the bylaws to implement the removal of “the current Council structure.” My answer is, “I did not!” Instead, I remember us agreeing that the Marian bylaws had NOT been followed BY THE DIOCESE and asking the Diocese to meet with us to review all the information. The Diocese, including Bishop David J. Malloy, did NOT choose to meet with us. However, I can understand parents’ confusion based on these questions that arise from reading the Diocese’ letter:
- What were these “submitted amendments” or “proposed amendments”?
- Did Bishop David J. Malloy ever personally receive these “submitted amendments” or any of the actual letters by Marian’s Council of Administration?
- Did Bishop David J. Malloy ever give his approval or provide any statement regarding these original “submitted amendments” or any correspondence by Marian’s Council?
- Did these “submitted amendments” actually recommend the complete removal of the original, local governance that was described in Dr. Tim Conway’s letter? (read more)
For those out there who have noticed, these same bully-tactics have been used to not only terminate Marian’s superintendents and remove its Councils but more horrifically have been used to side-line many of Rockford’s conservative priests. Unverified claims; quick sentencing; lack of response to questions; private internal reviews; illogical judgements; removals; statements of “There are more things that we just can’t discuss with you”; one-sided reporting; and the final complete blocking of communication. This trend is very clear in the Diocese of Rockford. Only the reason for everyone’s removal remains unclear.
By the way, whose budget does all of this come out of: Rockford Diocese’ or Marian’s? How much was spent on lawyers for the wrongful termination lawsuits? How many settlements have been paid to Marian employees? How much money was actually spent on recruiting fees for the hiring of Marian’s two superintendents?
We have all recently and sadly become aware through the stories in the media that the silencing of the laity, especially parents, only leads to tragic consequences for the faithful and a scarring of the true Church. All I ask now is for complete transparency and the posting of what occurred between Marian’s Council of Administration and the Rockford Diocesan Administration, especially with regard to the so-called “March” “submitted amendments” or “proposed amendments” and any of our analyses of the performance of Mr. Steve Baldwin, so that I can be able to defend myself truthfully in my part in all of this. I also believe we all need to see a detailed financial report from an outside auditor to understand how our tuition, fundraising, scholarship, and parish-tithed money has been spent at Marian Central Catholic High School. The full TRUTH needs to be known at this point to restore trust and unity.
Respectfully Yours in Christ,
Gwen D. Salvi, Ph.D.