Karen Kroh, Ed.D., is the Associate Superintendent for Student Services for the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas.
For the past sixteen years, Dr. Kathy O’Hara, Superintendent of Catholic Schools, has served as an “Angel Among Us,” advocating and sharing her passion for Catholic education. Over her tenure, Dr. O’Hara has worked tirelessly to ensure our Catholic schools are Joyfully Catholic, Diligently Achieving, Forwardly Thinking, Intentionally Self-Giving, and Prudently Managed. She has lived and led with these core values in mind. On October 26, she will receive the “Michael and Patty Morrisey Angels Among Us Award” during the Catholic Education Foundation’s Gaudeamus event in recognition of her long commitment to Catholic education.
To say being the Superintendent for Catholic Schools is a BIG job is an understatement. Dr. O’Hara has been a witness to this quote by Saint Mary MacKillop, “Do all you can with the means at your disposal, and calmly leave the rest to God.” She has worked determinedly for our schools, but has always left room to allow God to do his work. She is calm, she does not worry (too much), she trusts in God and His faithfulness to provide for our schools and students.
Saint Teresa of Calcutta said, “Joy is a net of love by which you can catch souls. A joyful heart is the inevitable result of a heart burning with love.” Dr. O’Hara is the embodiment of this quote from Saint Teresa of Calcutta. Her heart is enflamed with love for our Catholic faith and Catholic schools. She has worked to ensure our Catholic schools are aiding students in developing a love for the Catholic Church and helping students to establish a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. She has witnessed to teachers on numerous occasions sharing her belief that education is an “intimate connection between souls.” While academics are important, Dr. O’Hara has always believed Catholic schools are preparing students for their future both now and forever. This preparation for both our earthly life and our eternal life is what makes Catholic schools so essential for our children.
When Dr. O’Hara retires at the end of June to enjoy time with her family, her legacy will live on in our Catholic schools through our school leaders, teachers and most importantly the students. Dr. O’Hara’s favorite bible verse is "I will not forget you...I have held you in the palm of my hand" Isaiah 49:15. I am certain Dr. O’Hara would say to all Catholic school students, families, teachers, administrators and supporters, “I will not forget you…I have held you in the palm of my hand.”