|dc.description.abstract||Catholic schools across America are facing numerous challenges. The enrollment trends
in Catholic high schools are dropping at larger rates and schools are closing a great deal faster than they are opening (Lackman, 2013). The decline in vowed religious educators in the Catholic Church has added to the pressures put on the lay administrators to combat these challenges (Hunt, 2005; Heft, 2011). The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCBB) and other church leaders have called for Catholic schools to deepen their Catholic identity as a way to draw in the faithful and compete against the rise in charter schools and consequent decreased Catholic school enrollment (Lackman, 2013; United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, 2006). Schools with a religious order have surfaced as institutions with an identity that is anchored in the charism of their order. However, schools without religious orders have greater challenges than their religious order affiliated Catholic brethren due to their lack of history and traditions that focus on mission and thus deepen the Catholic identity needed to compete and stand out from competitors. Using a qualitative case study design, this study explains how one midsized Catholic school in Omaha, Nebraska that is without a religious order, deepened its Catholic identity through the lay leaders’ reinforcement of their school’s mission through strategic, shared and transformational leadership practices.
Keywords: Catholic identity, charism, school culture, mission, lay leader, religious order, strategic leadership, shared leadership, transformational leadership||en_US