Chris Milliron left his undergraduate time at the University of Notre Dame bound for a Ph.D. program at the University of California San Diego. He quickly learned research work wasn’t for him, but his involvement as a teaching assistant was fulfilling and impactful. After discernment revealed God’s calling for him to become a teacher, he completed his master’s degree and entered the world of education. This year, Chris Milliron begins his journey as Principal at St. Pius X Catholic School in Granger.
“I started out as a high school math teacher at a very small, rural public school in Oregon,” Milliron today Today’s Catholic. “From there, I transitioned to being the Vice Principal at a large Catholic elementary school in Eugene, Oregon. Last year, my family moved from Oregon to South Bend, and I served for one year as the Assistant Principal at St. Jude.”
He is excited about this new opportunity and to continue the outstanding work of his colleagues.
“My main goal is to continue the tradition of excellence started by our Principal Emerita, Elaine Holmes. She and Father Bill Schooler were instrumental in the founding of the school 15 years ago, and they have built something that is truly remarkable. A big goal for me this year is to be really intentional about listening to stakeholders so that I can understand on a deep level what makes the school so special,” Milliron said.
The St. Pius X Lions are a strong, close-knit community, Milliron said.
“At St. Pius X, the parish and school are constantly seeking to ‘renew all things in Christ.’ I’ve been struck by the extent to which this community takes renewal to heart – there is a strong culture of problem solving here, and I have no doubt that it is one of the reasons why this school has been so successful,” noted Milliron. “I am excited to be a part of the team that will continue this commitment to continuous self-assessment and improvement into the future.”
Milliron hopes to be an impactful leader for his team.
“It all starts with supporting teachers,” he said. “We are blessed to have a very skilled, dedicated staff at St. Pius X. I plan to listen to them and do what I can to ensure that they have the tools and resources that they need to keep delivering excellent instruction and faith formation.”
The heart of every school are the students, and Milliron wants to make all students feel known, loved, and served.
“My main goal is to make sure that our school is a safe, supportive, faith-filled environment for them. I hope that I can be a role model for our students, and a person who helps them to know that they are loved and capable of amazing things,” Milliron said.
Milliron said one of the blessings – and challenges – at St. Pius X is the impressive size of the school.
“We have a large student body (675 kids) so it is a big challenge to just get to know all of the students. I think it is really important to connect with every student, and in order to do that in a meaningful way, I need to know their names. I have been working really hard to learn at least 10 new names every day, and I am heading to recess or the lunchroom any chance I get to try to get to know the students on a personal level,” Milliron said.
His educational career has had many special moments, and one of his most memorable was a faith-filled experience that hit home.
“A few years into my career in Catholic education, I felt called to become an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion so that I could help out at school Masses,” Milliron said. “In the time since, I have come to really love serving in this capacity. One of my favorite memories was when I was able to serve as an Extraordinary Minister during my daughter’s first holy Communion.”
The 2023-24 academic year is starting out strong, Milliron said, and he is excited about the journey ahead.
“Ever since I started working in Catholic schools, I have kept a prayer card with the Act of Consecration to the Holy Spirit in my notebook. It was given to me as a gift, and I love to read it when we need a prayer for a staff meeting, etc.,” he said. “A few weeks ago, I noticed for the first time that it was written by St. Pius X. So, my prayer for this school year is for the Holy Spirit to guide and strengthen our school and parish community.”
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