Through a secondary analysis of a case study on successful school leadership, this study inquired into the lived experiences and understandings of Catholic identity from the perspectives of administrators, faculty, staff, and students at one urban Catholic school in the northeastern United States. Participants generally spoke about Catholic identity in terms of its explicit or implicit nature. Specifically, explicit Catholic identity relating to campus ministry, faith formation of students, and community service were noted to be areas for improvement. The analysis showed that tensions concerning the school’s Catholic identity were sidelined in the pursuit of academic excellence as measured by standardized tests, benchmarks, and college acceptance rates. We argue that embracing and taking seriously, rather than avoiding, the tensions concerning Catholic identity in a Catholic school might contribute to vital community dialogue, invigorating learning, and consequent spiritual and academic growth.



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