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 | By Misty Poe | Superintendent of Catholic Schools

Faith, academics and service are guiding our Catholic schools

Our Catholic schools recently welcomed more than 5,400 students for the new academic year. As superintendent, I am excited to be a part of another great school year, and I look forward to seeing how the Holy Spirit will move and work in and through our school communities. Our theme for the 2023-2024 school year, “Follow me as I follow Christ,” points to the core of our mission in Catholic education, to bring people to Christ and Christ to people. As we begin another year, we are also invited to reflect on how Catholic schools continue responding to the great commission of Jesus — to go and make disciples.

With faith, academics and service as guiding principles, Catholic schools in the Diocese of Austin continue to form children in both wisdom and holiness.



Ultimately, our goal for every person involved in our Catholic schools is to have a personal encounter with Jesus Christ. Last year as the National Eucharistic Revival kicked off, several Catholic schools collaborated to host a Eucharistic Rally for middle school students. More than 400 teens came together for a day of fellowship, encounter and spiritual renewal to offer students an opportunity to grow in their relationship with Christ in the Eucharist.

Throughout the year our students are presented with many opportunities to receive the sacraments, pray and serve those on the peripheries as part of their educational experience. As Catholic educators, we partner with the parents to pass on the faith to our students; tangible opportunities for encounter and community are what set Catholic schools apart.


Partnering with parents is a rich part of the Catholic school history of fostering academic growth and maintaining high standards. This continues to be evident in our students' performance on standardized assessments. Last year on the NWEA MAP assessment, the average scores among first through eighth grade students in math, reading and science were above the national average among all students taking these assessments. The MAP growth assessments gauge not only performance but also student growth in each subject area.

Since this assessment has been administered, we have seen the growth trend upward each year — a sign of teachers' commitment to provide for individual student needs. In addition to this growth in the elementary and middle school grades, our high schools continue to maintain high performance levels in the SAT and ACT. Last year 42 National Merit Scholars were recognized among our six Catholic high schools.


Our faith’s rich tradition of social teaching is another primary component of the Catholic school experience. Advocating for the dignity of each person must be taught and supported within our Catholic schools to nurture the call of service to others. We partner with several agencies to provide activities for our students that build a foundation for civics engagement. Catholic Charities of Central Texas provided a Social Justice Fair for third-grade students this past year and plans to expand the fair this school year.

Students learned about the seven tenets of social justice and participated in activities that explored each of the seven areas. Close Up Foundation supported our Advocacy Day at the State Capitol last March as over 1,300 Catholic school students from across the state participated in mock committee hearings that debated the pros and cons of payday lending practices. Over 500 of those students were from the Diocese of Austin who played critical roles including expert witnesses and committee panel members.

Catholic schools play a dynamic role in evangelizing communities in Central Texas and are an essential mission of the church. It is my prayer that our schools continue to provide support to parents and families as they nurture the next generation of Christ’s followers.

For more information about Catholic education in the Diocese of Austin, visit or call your local school to schedule a visit. On behalf of our pastors, principals and educators, we invite all families to explore our Catholic schools.

Misty Poe serves as the superintendent of the 20 Catholic schools in the Diocese of Austin. She can be reached at (512) 949-2497 or

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