Helias leadership transitioning

Bishop tabbed new president; 3 board members resign

The Catholic schools community has experienced significant leadership changes at both the board of directors and administrative levels this summer.

Earlier this month, Bishop John Gaydos appointed the Rev. Stephen W. Jones as president of Helias Catholic High School. In the wake of Jones’ appointment, three of the members on the Helias Catholic High School Board of Directors — all lay people — submitted written letters of resignation, according to Dan Joyce, director of communications for the Diocese of Jefferson City.

Although the News Tribune made attempts to contact them, the former board members either declined to comment about their resignations or were unable to be reached.

Jones succeeds Didier “Di” Aur, who announced in mid-May his decision to return to Memphis where he has accepted a job as principal at Resurrection Catholic School.

Aur did — and now Jones will — serve in a hybrid capacity, performing duties that both superintendents and principals handle in a public education setting. The president also is concerned with fundraising efforts.

When asked if the recent resignations of the three board members was an inauspicious way to start his Helias career, Jones was loath to comment.

“To be quite honest, I’ve done my best not to get caught up in any of that,” he said. “As my dad would say — he was a military guy — that’s ‘above my pay grade.’ I was appointed by the Bishop. I’m a priest of the diocese. When the bishop appoints you to something, unless if there’s a really good reason, you don’t turn it down. I’m excited to serve in any way the bishop asks me to serve. I’m just trying to go into Helias with the idea that we’re going to keep moving forward. We’re going to work towards becoming the best school we can become. But I’ve really tried, intentionally, to stay away from any of that.”

In early May, when Aur’s resignation was made public, Corel and Wegman were named interim directors of the Catholic schools and it was reported they would direct the transition and search for a new president of Helias, with the assistance of the school’s board of directors and local pastors.

The bylaws of Helias Catholic High School indicate one of the board’s enumerated duties is to make “recommendations to the Member for appointment or removal of the President of the School.”

However, it appears the search was truncated when Gaydos chose Jones for the job and no one else was interviewed for the position.

“The bishop made this appointment with the authority he has under the bylaws. He did consult with the board regarding his choice ... but it was the bishop’s choice,” Joyce said.

According to the organization’s bylaws, the sole controlling member of Helias Catholic High School is the bishop or the person serving as the administrator in the event of a vacancy.

Among the bishop’s many powers are the right to “appoint or remove the directors” and “to appoint or remove the president of the school after receiving recommendations from the board of directors.”

The nine-member board is composed of three people appointed by the bishop; the superintendent; the school president; lay people from St. Peter’s Parish, St. Joseph’s Cathedral Parish, Immaculate Conception Parish; and a fourth lay person from the area parish who contributes the largest number of students to Helias.

Related articles:

New president seeks to build on Helias legacy

Other changes in works for Catholic school system


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