Principal Browne Teaches Freshman Theology Class

James Bosco, Staff Writer, Advanced Journalism

Principal Patrick Browne has embarked on his second year here at Notre Dame Academy. Alongside his duties that go along with being the head of Notre Dame Academy, he has also taken up teaching one class per day.

The class that needed his attention was Freshman Theology. Browne explained that his time was needed in this class because of the departure of Father Brad Vanden Branden from the Notre Dame family.

After a new Abbot was elected earlier this year, Fr. Brad was promoted to Prior, and was no longer able to fulfill his teaching role at Notre Dame. “We were left with a void,” Browne explained.

Browne explained how Father Christian Raj was now on staff as the school chaplain, but being newly arrived from India with English as a second language, he is not as comfortable participating in the academics. However, Fr. Christian will be celebrating masses, hearing confessions and leading adoration.

Along with Browne, Campus Minister Daniel Kreigl has stepped up to fill the teaching void left by Fr. Brad’s departure.

In an interview, Browne explained, “The highlight of my day is teaching.” Browne’s enthusiasm for teaching is self-evident, as even in a role as demanding as principal, he has assumed the classroom role.

In teaching Freshman Theology, the principal/teacher is following the course curriculum, just as all other classes are. Browne expressed this need for a common standard: “It’s like if you’re all running a 5K, everybody needs to know that that’s what we’re training for.”

One of the benefits of teaching a class, Browne explained, is getting to interact with the students face-to-face on a daily basis. These interactions allow Browne to know the student body and build relationships with students.

Browne expressed his enjoyment for these experiences because, as he put it,  it is easy to get caught up in the daily grind of running a school.

Cadence Maxfield, a freshman in Browne’s class, admitted at first she was scared that her principal was also one of her teachers. The fear has passed, and Maxfield said, “He’s a good teacher who makes me think–a lot of quick thinking.”

Another student of Browne’s, Nick Bumgardner,  said, “I am really excited for this school year with Mr. Browne. I have never had a principal as a teacher and am looking forward to it. His teaching style plays to my strengths well. Hopefully we have a great year!”

Although having your principal as your teacher may be daunting at first, in the long run it will help students get to know their principal and their principal to know them as well.