By Brian J. Seifert
It was Mark Twain who once famously quipped that “The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.” Rumors about the demise of Bishop Timon-St. Jude High School also fall into the same category.
Bishop Timon has a long history in South Buffalo and the Western New York community. Opened in 1946 and named after Buffalo’s first bishop, the school was built on and maintains a strong Franciscan foundation.
But its strong reputation has been shaken of late. Some of this has been self-inflicted and some beyond Timon’s control.
The latter is simply a phenomenon occurring over the last four decades, largely the result of a shrinking population in our region. The reality is that some private schools have closed over the last several years and enrollment is the focus for many Catholic institutions, including Timon.
The former is the result of a collection of decisions that harmed our reputation, whether selections of leadership, academic standards or otherwise. In the end, we make no excuses.
We want it known that we own our mistakes and embrace our challenges head-on through new administrative appointments, which to date include a new principal, admissions director and athletic director, and new leadership within the board of trustees.
Through execution of our strategic plan, including a new operating model, we are moving forward where transparency among our stakeholders is the No. 1 priority.
We have to earn back the trust of the Timon community, most importantly our current and prospective students and their families. This will be accomplished through active leadership and hands-on involvement, versus the antiquated management model of the past.
Timon has developed an organizational structure with clear roles and responsibilities. These roles will be supported through a revamped committee structure involving the entire Timon community.
While the goals and objectives for each committee will be different, they will all work lockstep with the strategic plan, building an even stronger foundation of academic programs in the Franciscan tradition that made Timon the school it once was and will be again.
We are under no illusions that this will be an easy task, but our long history has demonstrated that no one should ever underestimate a Timon man.
There are thousands of successful Timon men in our community, and our new leadership intends to restore the foundation of “Fortes in Fide” for a new generation of men who are strong in faith in the Franciscan tradition.
Brian J. Seifert is a member of the Bishop Timon-St. Jude High School board of trustees.