Words from our Superintendent: One Year Later
Dr. Michael Ashton moved to Nebraska from North Carolina, where he was a building principal. As part of his current role as superintendent, he serves 70+ Catholic schools in the state and has made a direct impact on many people and procedures in his time already. Enjoy this quick Q&A.
Q. You’ve lived in Omaha for one year now. What has been your favorite part of the city? Anything you’ve been surprised by as a new resident of Nebraska?
A. My overall impression of Omaha is that the people here seek community, and long to welcome more into that community. As my family enjoyed the concert on the Memorial Park lawn, or watched fireworks over the river Memorial Day weekend, or visited the zoo, I have seen families and individuals coming together wanting that small town, welcoming dynamic. And every person that I meet who knows I am new to the area, “How do you like Omaha?” This question never comes from an attitude of hubris or pride, but one of sharing and welcome.
Q. What do you like most about both your job, and the Archdiocese of Omaha Catholic Schools in general?
A. It fascinates me that across an Archdiocese of only about a million people that we have one of the largest Catholic school systems in the country, 22nd out of 175. It speaks to the value Nebraskan’s place on religion in schools, the freedom to choose those schools, and the determination and sacrifice they are willing to make to sustain those schools. There is nothing better than visiting those communities and meeting the hundreds and thousands of people who have devoted themselves to making these schools the absolute best place for children and their families.
Q. What are some ways you express your faith in your life at work and at home?
A. I feel abundantly blessed by God and in all parts of my life I try to share those blessings with others. If someone who interacts with me can feel the love of Christ through that interaction, then that is my fullest expression of my faith. I am glad to share with others what God has taught me in my life, but more importantly, if I am living what God has taught me, they will experience the same message.
Q. Can you tell us a unique fact about yourself?
A. I have had the great privilege to teach in environments ranging from the earliest grades to adulthood, from private/religious to public schools, and some of the wealthiest districts to some that serve impoverished areas, both urban and rural. It helps me deeply appreciate the wide range of needs as well as success stories across education in the United States.
With an expanding Catholic Schools Office, we can’t wait to see what’s in store for year two!