7 Questions with Lizzane Pando
Name: Lizanne Pando
Current title: President
Current organisation: St. Hubert Catholic High School for Girls
U of Del Graduate with a Chemistry and Business and working on my Doctorate in Educational Leadership at Cabrini U. I moved onto working with McNeil Pharmaceutical, then Family Marketing business, moved to the Miraculous Medal Shrine, and the World Meeting of Families, and finally now the 5 year President of St. Hubert Catholic High School for Girls.
1. What have you found most challenging as a Christian school leader?
As a school leader there are many moving parts. From students and their families, enrollment, finance, academics, development, the Board and the Catholic Identity. One of the challenges is making sure you are balancing these important aspects as a strong leader with integrity and faith for all of the students.
2. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
Everyday is very different. It is important to start your day with prayer and a healthy routine. Then I make a list looking back to the previous days with my administration to assess what tasks are important to accomplish. These tasks can get bumped quickly if there is an emergency or a visit that would need personal attention. I like to walk the building to check in with different departments and to catch up with students. This leads me often to the cafeteria where I can sit with students or a department head like my maintenance supervisor or a teacher or our Campus minister to discuss any number of upcoming plans for the school.
Most days I will have to write thank you letters or letters for a report for the Board or Alum. And I attend many meetings to make sure the operations, finance and tuition offices are all in order. After school hours I try and attend a athletic event or two on my way home if I do not have to work at school for an event.
At the end of the day I say my rosary on my ride home to thank Mary and the Lord for another day of graces.
I dine with my family and we play games and catch up in the evenings.
I often check my emails at home to keep in communication and then off to bed for me.
3. What's the most recent significant leadership lesson you've learned?
Throughout what I am calling the raging storm of medical crisis, social unrest, and a political battlefield, I have learned very clearly that God's present, is the present. You can learn from the past or plan for the future, but living in either place takes away the "Peace and blessings of the Present".
4. What one book has had the most profound impact on your Christian school leadership so far? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?
Produced by Faith by Devon Franklin. Devon challenges that "you should not walk through a door that your faith will not fit through". He means in your career, but I would challenge that it fits all situations. If you cannot bring the Lord and your faith with you into each scenario you move into, then what are you hiding and seeking to gain by that?
Devon says, "The danger comes when you think you know better than God and end up taking shortcuts. It's one thing to know God has a plan for you. It's another to really believe it and let that truth drive your actions, especially when there may be intense pressure to do otherwise. I know that there are many people who have abandoned their principles under difficult circumstances. Sadly, in doing so they got detoured from the blessings that God was setting up for them."
Many don't understand why I choose to work in my faith. It is long hours and the pay might be better elsewhere, but the blessings are grand everyday.
5. How do you find and keep great Christian teachers?
We are blessed in Philadelphia to have the oldest Catholic School system. It is wide and strong and attracts many good Catholics and Christians. Also I have found if you lead with your faith, people notice and decide they want to work for you if they have a strong faith as well.
6. What's most important as a Christian school leader for developing a culture of wellbeing in your staff and students?
It might sound cliche, but prayer. It is important to set a tone with prayer for each day, in each class and to start each meeting. We also practice Mass monthly, prayer services, adoration encounters and retreats regularly.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a Christian school leader so far?
When you lead students with a strong faith and they recognize this, it is beautiful to see them rejoice in the Lord. We have regular adoration encounters that give the opportunity for the students to sing and praise as well as bring forth a great silence in which to pray and reflect.
When we leave these moving and beautiful encounters, the students run up to me and ask if we can have them every week. That is a blessing when they ask for more worship.