The largest private school system in the country has a new leader.
Dr. Jim Rigg took over as the Superintendent of the Chicago Archdiocese Schools earlier this month, hired by Archbishop Blasé Cupich. Rigg comes at a time when there are 25 fewer Catholic schools in the Chicago area than just four years ago.
Rigg said “we’re going to be looking at each individual school, each individual parish, each individual community.” He said he comes to the job with “a vision of hope.”
He said he's committed to making sure there are Catholic schools in inner city neighborhoods, however “I can’t say that, it is too soon” whether any schools in those underserved neighborhoods might close at the end of this school year.
During Rigg’s previous position – as Superintendent of Cincinnati Catholic Schools – teachers paid for billboards asking if Pope Francis would work for there, protesting when Rigg demanded they sign morality clauses.
While there are standards for Catholic teaches in Chicago, they do not sign a similar contract. Rigg says “The Archdiocese of Chicago has a very specific performance expectations, standards of conduct, and as Superintendent here it’s going to be my job to implement those and there are no plans to change those at this time.”
When asked specifically would he would do if he found out a Chicago Catholic school teacher lived a gay lifestyle, he responded “It’s hard for me to deal with hypotheticals, each instance is taken in a case by case basis; decisions are made by the local employers in consultation with the Archdiocese.”
Rigg takes over after two women Sister Mary Paul and Dr. Mary Kearney held that position. Rigg says women will be included in his leadership team “most of my career has been working with women. Most of my staff are women, I believe, while I’m not a woman, I understand their unique perspective and value that they bring to Catholic education.”
The Catholic schools are undergoing a review as Rigg hopes to soon put in place a new strategic plan for the next three to five years.