I remember when I was a lot younger that the easiest way to start a term paper was the Webster's definition. Some habits are hard to break. Webster defines a rookie as an inexperienced recruit in the army or any novice, as on a police force or in a professional sport.
This is a story of two rookie seasons. The first is my rookie year with Norwalk Catholic School and I will try to keep that short because it's truly not "all about me" and I don't want to bore anyone. The second is the story of the rookie year of Norwalk Catholic School and what I see as our many successes and great promise for the future.
My name is Chris Baker and in December I was hired by Norwalk Catholic School as the business manager. Unlike the rest of the leadership team at Norwalk Catholic School, I came to the job with no background in the education field. I did have many years of financial experience, mostly in manufacturing businesses. The primary role of a financial person in a manufacturing business is twofold:
Work with company marketing and sales personnel to try to increase the prices charged for the products being sold and be sure to collect the monies owed.
Work with engineering and process technicians to find ways to reduce the costs incurred in making the products sold.
At Norwalk Catholic School, the major sources of income are tuition, support from parishes and other fund-raising endeavors. The major expense is payroll and benefits paid to teachers and administrative staff personnel. Other expenses are utilities, maintenance and supplies. Adjusting to these aspects of the financial part of my job was a fairly smooth transition.
Other aspects of the job that are requiring more adjustment are having responsibility for maintenance, housekeeping and the cafeteria. My main way to deal with maintenance items at home are the phone book and a credit card. Please don't even ask about my housekeeping or food preparation skills.
The rookie year of Norwalk Catholic School has been even more successful. In my view, one major accomplishment is the establishment of a committed team. Some of us are new; others are in new positions and many people have had their roles change even though they are in the same positions. However, all are committed to the success of Norwalk Catholic School and our students.
Another major accomplishment is the continued support of the community. Earlier in the year, one of these School Matters articles listed the many ways that our volunteers have contributed their time and energy to the success of many of our projects.
Through the many changes of the last year, our students continue to perform at a high level both academically and in extracurricular activities. I was fortunate to have some free time on the day of the math fair and was impressed with the variety of demonstrations and the fun that many of the students had in presenting their topic.
As always, the goal of putting our Catholic faith and teachings at the forefront of all we do has not wavered.
Finally, speaking of rookies, all of us at Norwalk Catholic School congratulate Eric Schild (St. Paul class of 1998) on his ordination and we send him our prayers and best wishes as he begins his rookie year in the priesthood.
Chris Baker is business manager at Norwalk Catholic School.