JEFFERSON CITY – A life-long Catholic educator will take the helm of the Diocese of Jefferson City’s Catholic school system on May 1. Bishop W. Shawn McKnight has named Dr. Erin Vader as superintendent of schools for the diocese. Vader, who holds a doctorate in educational leadership from Texas Wesleyan University, currently serves as Coordinator for Schools Advancement for the Diocese of Fort Worth, Texas.
“Dr. Vader’s wealth of experience in Catholic education and her mission-based leadership is certain to ensure our students are equipped to be the next generation of Catholic innovators, community builders and holy men and women,” Bishop McKnight said.
“My first priority has always been the students,” Vader explained. “I’m eager to build on the very strong foundation in the diocese of forming young people to be critical thinkers, life-long learners, and servant leaders who want to make the world a better place for everyone.”
Vader has served as president or principal of three Catholic schools and taught at two additional Catholic schools. She has also served as an accreditation chair for the Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops’ Education Department. During her three-year tenure as president of Fort Worth’s Nolan Catholic High School, she facilitated donations and pledges of more than $30 million, while stabilizing enrollment as the school transitioned from more than 60 years of Marianist leadership to lay leadership.
In addition to her doctoral degree, Vader holds a Master’s degree in Education, Educational Leadership from Texas Wesleyan, a Catholic School Leadership Certificate from the University of Dallas, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Texas at Arlington. She has also been an adjunct instructor for Texas Wesleyan University.
“Bishop McKnight’s vision of Catholic stewardship and his work to facilitate our churches and schools as places where pastors and laity work together to create communities of compassion and mercy, speaks to me as a Catholic and as an educator,” Vader said. “In all humility, I want to help Bishop McKnight, the pastors, the religious, the administrators, teachers and families of the diocese, and help steward that vision in any way I can.”
The Diocese of Jefferson City comprises 38 counties in central and northeastern Missouri. Approximately 82,000 Catholics live in the diocese, worshipping and serving in 114 parishes. It includes three high schools and 37 elementary schools, with a total enrollment of approximately 7,000 students.