Brian Green, a UST alumnus and graduate of the Notre Dame Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE), has joined the staff of the Center for Catholic Studies to head the new St. Thomas Magnus Program.
The Magnus program is a two-year service program focused on preparing professional teachers for Catholic schools in the Upper-Midwest. Participants teach full-time in elementary and secondary schools for two years while enrolled in graduate studies in the University of St. Thomas School of Education. Living together as a faith community, Magnus teachers share regular meals and prayer. Magnus aims to provide excellence in education and to maximize opportunities for its participants’ personal and professional growth. Ultimately, Magnus seeks to prepare thoughtful, faith-filled leaders for Catholic education.
Named for Albertus Magnus, the teacher and mentor of St. Thomas Aquinas, the program is a partnering program of the Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE), which was founded by the University of Notre Dame and the University of Portland in 1993 to renew and energize Catholic schools by providing them with young, faith-filled and committed teachers. In order to fulfill this mission, programs are based on three pillars–professional teaching, community and spirituality. Green will particularly oversee the latter two pillars.
Community Life Magnus teachers live in small communities of four to eight members and together share the many challenges and rewards of beginning teaching. The commitment to an intentional community life allows teachers to develop relationships that prove to be lasting. Magnus teachers become active members of the local parish and school communities. Through their communal life, they are called to grow together, to support one another, and to challenge each other in Christian discipleship.
Spiritual Life Magnus teachers commit to developing their faith in the context of community. They share with one another the journey towards becoming committed Catholic school teachers. They are invited to embody more fully Christ’s person and teachings, both to their students and the wider community.
Because of the influence of the Center for Catholic Studies and the support of its faculty members, spiritual formation is expected to be a particularly strong feature of Magnus, one that will distinguish the St. Thomas program from the thirteen other ACE partnering programs at Catholic universities throughout the country.
“I am thrilled this program is going to be at St. Thomas,” says Green. “If we look at education programs in the country, how many of them specifically prepare teachers for Catholic education? With the dwindling number of religious brothers and sisters teaching today the Catholic identity they brought to schools is also gone. Because of this, there is a critical need for programs to prepare lay people for service in Catholic schools, which are not just about faith but about a way of life and educating the whole person in the context of the Catholic tradition. One answer is to have programs that offer both spiritual formation and professional development. The Alliance for Catholic Education provides a model that does just that."
Green, from Mankato, Minn., graduated from St. Thomas in 1999 and participated in Notre Dame’s ACE program, teaching for two gomery, Alabama. After graduating with a Masters in Education, he did a post-ACE international program in Santiago, Chile for 16 months. His wife Melissa, also an ACE graduate, teaches sixth grade at Risen Christ in Minneapolis.
Speaking from his own experience, Green says, “I feel that because of ACE I am professionally, personally, and emotionally involved in Catholic education. It has allowed me to begin understanding the meaning of vocation in theory and practice. My own experience was so positive that I would strongly encourage people to consider these programs and the vocation of teaching.”