“I was blessed to be able to share my business background with the archdiocese,” Allison wrote in an e-mail response to your Catholic Herald. “I was able to draw the business community closer to the educational leaders…. In short, we have built stronger connections across the spectrum of education from pre-K to adult. The schools office staff will continue to work with the business community in ways that open new programs and possibilities for Catholic education.”
In response to Allison’s statement in his e-mail that read, “Further, resources to support my position can now be redeployed in other ways in support of our Catholic schools,” Bishop William P. Callahan, administrator of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, said the Catholic schools office’s budget will not be cut, but they “will be looking at other ways of being, perhaps, a little more creative in terms of staffing.”
Bishop Callahan also said that the Catholic schools office will run as usual without a director, but it will hire people to assist David Lodes, superintendent, and his staff.
“The operation and the function of the schools is not going to be affected,” Bishop Callahan said.
John Marek, archdiocesan treasurer/chief financial officer, concurred that the resignation was not due to budget cuts.
“When we did the budget, we had anticipated that Chuck and his position would be in it,” he said.
Allison’s position might remain unfilled, according to Bishop Callahan, because “so much high level work has already been accomplished and the people in the office are able to pick up on what’s already been done; we now need to have people who are going to be working at levels lower than a director’s position. It’s kind of like making sure that you have people who are going to be able to be out there and do the work now.”
Allison oversaw the establishment of the five Centers of Excellence – which aren’t physical buildings but defined by the office brochure as “leadership groups created to advance expertise and innovation, and to inspire new thinking and learning.” Bishop Callahan said these will continue to grow with help of the education commission, an instrumental group in the building of the centers.
The Centers of Excellence brought Allison into the inner network of people who care about Catholic education, “Leaders from all walks of life were part of this effort,” he said. “Each person contributed something that will help sustain future success in some part of our archdiocesan system. It’s easy to think that running a Catholic schools system is all about day-to-day issues and finances. It’s more than that. It’s about establishing innovative practices and programs that bring in more talent and more support.”
“One of the key elements of his service has been the oversight in the establishment of the Centers of Excellence,” Bishop Callahan said of Allison’s work on the centers, which are funded by the Faith in Our Future Capital Campaign. “…His work in developing, with his staff, the strategic plan and his work, again, with the education commission.”
Lodes, superintendent of archdiocesan schools since October 2007, said that the director’s vision and marketing and business background enabled Allison to design a future for Catholic schools in the archdiocese.
“He spent a good portion of his time designing the plan,” Lodes said. “The plan is valid and reliable, and it’s our responsibility now to continue to execute what had been proposed for the continuing quality of Catholic education.”
Catholic education and Catholic schools will remain a priority for the archdiocese, Bishop Callahan said.
“Catholic schools are one of the primary means by which we continue to educate and lead people, especially young people, in the Catholic faith. …What we will do is maintain the level of excellence that Chuck had a hand in creating in the whole re-establishment of the Catholic schools office and the work that has been accomplished will continue to grow,” Bishop Callahan said.
The communications office of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee will continue to partner with the office for schools in marketing efforts, the bishop said.
“I think the whole schools marketing thing is probably one of the highlights that we will see develop,” Bishop Callahan said. “And, of course, that now is being handled through the communications office as well as through our partners in on the education commission, through the GMCEC, which is the Greater Milwaukee Catholic Education Consortium, and so with cooperation from all of those people, we now have a Web site, we have direct communication with our schools, we have each school in the archdiocese is able to tailor-make its own message to be able to support Catholic education on a local basis, so I think (that) the horizons are bright.”
As director, Allison strengthened the ability of each school to access marketing tools through an online portal of marketing tool templates including postcards, print ads, brochures and other marketing materials. “Parish schools now have the ability to convey their own ‘good news’ in a professional way that is consistent with the overall marketing image of the archdiocese,” he said.
In the meantime, the executive council, which consists of the archbishop, the two auxiliary bishops, chief of staff, chancellor, vicar for clergy and finance officer, and the education commission will hold meetings to discuss additional responsibilities that need to be taken on by Lodes, whose position will otherwise remain the same.
The superintendent is ready to continue the strategic plan that Allison began.
“We need to continue the plan,” he said. “Everyone else will have to pick up the responsibilities and make sure it gets executed and that’s what Chuck would want.”
Allison said in his e-mail resignation notice that he is grateful for the opportunity to work with the people his position brought him into contact with while he was director.
“I wish you the very best as you continue to help our treasured Catholic schools thrive. I feel personally honored and privileged to have been a part of this most important ministry,” he wrote.
As he moves on, Allison will play a more active role in the growth of InnaVision Global Marketing Consultants, where he has an active consulting practice. “I could have served the archdiocese as a ‘consultant’ for these past few years,” Allison said. “I made the conscious decision to give my full commitment as an employee. It was my way of giving back the best of my talents and experience not for personal gain, but for the good of the archdiocese.”