I am writing to provide an update on the Des Moines region. Highlighted below you will find the announcement of our regional board of directors as well as progress in aligning business operations.
The regional board of directors will be comprised of lay members and clergy who will exercise authority in the following areas: compensation planning, tuition rates, tuition assistance management, business operations, communications and governance and policy. I am pleased to announce the following lay members and will share the names of clergy as they are appointed by Bishop Joensen.
Steve Lacy, Regional Board Chair
As former CEO and executive chairman of Meredith Corporation, Steve brings extensive business acumen and leadership experience to the position. He has been an advocate for Catholic education for many years and has served in key leadership roles on the Dowling Catholic foundation board and other diocesan and community initiatives, including the Ignite Campaign. Steve and his wife Cathy are parents to two DCHS alumni and are members of St. Augustin Parish.
As a former executive vice president with Wells Fargo, Mary has extensive experience overseeing large scale operations, engineering customer design processes and data analytics. Mary has been active in the community, serving on several boards and advisory groups for local and statewide charities, including Grand View College, Principal Charity Classic, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Iowa, Community Foundation Board, the Greater Des Moines Partnership Financial Services Council and the University of Northern Iowa Foundation Board. She has also served on the Bishop’s Council and is involved with the Ignite Campaign. Mary and her husband Don are parents to four DCHS alumni and are members of Sacred Heart Parish.
Miquel currently serves as Vice President of Finance at Beal Derkenne Construction, with expertise in executive management, finance and accounting. Miquel is a current member of Dowling Catholic’s Board of Education, a former St. Joseph Board of Education member, and has been involved in community initiatives such as the St. Joseph Gala and the St. Joseph Centennial Campaign. Miquel and her husband Jason are members of St. Joseph Parish and are parents to five Catholic school students and one alum.
As a senior vice president for Casey’s General Stores, Brian has extensive experience in finance, mergers and acquisitions, real estate development and investor relations. Brian and his wife Tricia are parents to three children attending Catholic schools and are members of Saint Pius X Parish.
Mark is the former president and CFO of SNI Companies and holds expertise in building teams and growing a business both via acquisition and internal growth. Mark and his wife Marcia are members of Sacred Heart Parish. They are the parents of two DCHS alumni and grandparents to four students currently attending Dowling and Sacred Heart Catholic Schools. Mark is also the past president of Des Moines Golf and Country Club, treasurer and board member of the DMAM Rotary Club for over 25 years, and a board member of the DMAM Rotary Foundation and the Des Moines Golf and Country Club Foundation.
Luis is the former president and CEO and current chairman of Principal International. His areas of expertise include business management, finance and investments, strategic development, corporate governance and multicultural knowledge. Luis is also a mentor at Dowling Catholic and meets weekly with students to discuss academic progress and advocacy skills. He and his wife Maria Isabel Echazu have five children and four grandchildren. They currently serve on the Bishop’s Council and are members of St. Francis Parish.
In the area of business operations, it has been determined that St. Joseph Catholic School will be the first to pilot the regional business model which will include a common chart of accounts and joint budgeting process. Staff members from St. Joseph have been meeting with the regional business operations committee to begin planning for the upcoming fiscal year. Additional schools may also be engaged during the pilot period. Budgets and school operations will remain the same for the 2022-23 school year.
Another important step underway is development of the agreement between the region and each parish. This agreement will reflect that parishes will retain ownership of each school building and will address key categories including educational materials, technology, maintenance and grounds, utilities, insurance and others.
Increasing tuition assistance is a top priority for the new region and important steps have already taken place. It is anticipated that additional funds from the Catholic Tuition Organization (CTO) will provide $800,000 to $1 million in tuition assistance to families in the Des Moines region for the 2023-2024 school year. Local entities and the Diocese are working together to develop a process to anticipate need and allocate funds consistently.
Business managers and administrators will continue to work with regional staff throughout the summer. I look forward to providing you with an update on our progress at the start of the new school year. I am grateful for the ongoing collaboration of the many groups and individuals involved in this important initiative.
Dr. Dan Ryan