Leading the Marist Brothers tradition in Catholic secondary schools today

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Quinney, Tara
Author ORCID Profiles (clickable)
Master of Educational Leadership and Management
Unitec Institute of Technology
Cardno, Carol
Bassett, Martin
Masters Thesis
Ngā Upoko Tukutuku (Māori subject headings)
New Zealand
Catholic secondary schools
Marist Brothers
secondary schools
charism (extraordinary power / blessing)
educational leadership
New Zealand secondary schools
leadership development
Quinney, T. (2018). Leading the Marist Brothers tradition in Catholic secondary schools today. An unpublished thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Educational Leadership and Management, Unitec Institute of Technology, New Zealand
RESEARCH QUESTIONS: 1. What are the understandings of leaders in Marist Brothers secondary schools of the charism? 2. In what ways is this commitment implemented by leaders in Marist Brothers secondary schools? 3. What challenges are experienced in Marist Brothers Secondary schools in implementing the charism? Leadership in all New Zealand secondary schools is a complex role that is constantly reacting to and developing in response to significant changes due to the rate of technology revolutions, government approaches and people and community needs. Catholic secondary schools have the added pressure of living out and sustaining their special Catholic character. This study researches the leadership in Marist Brothers tradition schools as one example of these schools and investigates how this particular charism is upheld and transformed today. With the decline in Marist Brothers teaching and leading in these schools this has led to lay staff taking on the responsibility. There is very little literature on the role of leaders in Marist Brothers tradition secondary schools in continuing and transmitting the charism, particularly in the New Zealand context. The purpose of this study is to explore how schools in the Marist Brothers tradition interpret the charism in New Zealand secondary schools today. Given the focus of this research, an interpretive approach involving an in depth qualitative investigation through face to face semi-structured interviews was enacted. This allowed for a range of perspectives to be explored across four Marist Brothers tradition secondary schools. Interviews allowed for the perceptions of both middle and senior leaders to be shared and analysed. Findings through this study highlighted the pivotal role leaders have in upholding and transforming the Marist Brothers charism in their schools. Formation of their own personal leadership and faith beliefs were critical to their leadership styles in implementing the charism in an authentic way. Some are embracing the new challenge of being open to the Holy Spirit in moving with the times and nurturing the charism without the presence of the declining Marist Brothers while others are still fighting to preserve the traditions through their presence. This study suggests that leader’s knowledge of their own faith and leadership styles, as well as the challenges and barriers in implementing the charism, inspires them to overcome the issue of the decline and influence of the Marist Brothers in their schools. It is recommended that leaders who have accepted this challenge earlier should share their knowledge with other Marist Brother tradition secondary schools.
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