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alum gives St. Thomas More students 13 million reasons to say thanks

Nov. 2017 - , Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

In life, Leonard Gigowski ran a corner grocery store. The bachelor loved ballroom dancing and pigeon racing.

In death, he found a way to help generations of students pay their tuition at St. Thomas More High School, his own alma mater back when it was called St. Francis Minor Seminary.

This quiet and frugal man left $13 million in a scholarship fund that covers up to half the tuition for needy students who don't qualify for the private school choice program and its state aid payments. "He lived a very simple life, nothing extravagant whatsoever in his lifestyle. For the most part, he saved his money and wanted to provide a legacy, which he did," said Larry Haskin, Leonard's lawyer and friend who helped him set up the Leonard Gigowski Catholic Education Foundation.

Leonard was 90 and still in his New Berlin home when he died of cancer on July 21, 2015. He never married or had children. All but one sibling preceded him in death.He made a few small bequests to individuals and family members, but the vast majority of his estate went toward the scholarships, as he wished.

Mary McIntosh, president of Thomas More on Milwaukee's south side, recalls meeting Haskin for coffee and learning of the foundation. "He told me the size of Leonard's gift, and I almost fell off my chair," she said.

This school year, a total of $489,000 was awarded to 131 students to cover either one-half ($5,400) or one-third ($3,600) of the annual tuition, which is $10,800. The goal is to distribute 5% of the fund balance each year, thus keeping it going into perpetuity. Students can renew the scholarship each year as long as they keep their grades up. All of that is a pretty good reason for the school to feel grateful, especially in this week devoted to giving thanks.

"It's a fantastic recruiting tool to be able to reduce tuition, and to make it a bit more affordable for the families," said Haskin, a graduate of Pio Nono High School, also a predecessor of Thomas More.

So who was Leonard Gigowski and how did he become a millionaire 13 times over? Click here to read more in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. 

Siena Catholic Schools of Racine Names Brenda White as System's First President

Aug. 2017 - The Board of Directors of Siena Catholic Schools of Racine announced today that Brenda White has been named to serve as the first President of the newly formed school system.

Ms. White joins Siena Catholic Schools from the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, where she has served as associate superintendent of schools since 2008. As part of this role, she began working six years ago with school and parish leaders to build support for the formation of a regional model of Catholic education in Racine and has been a driving force in bringing Siena Catholic Schools into existence.

 “Establishing strong leadership is a critical step as we prepare to launch our new school system and we are fortunate to have Brenda taking on the chief leadership role,” said Daniel E. Horton, acting chairman of the Siena Catholic Schools Board of Directors. “Her established leadership in advancing Catholic education, her strong relationships with school and parish leaders and her deep commitment to the Catholic faith will help us put the Siena Catholic School system on a successful, sustainable path to serving students and their families for years to come.”

Prior to her role in the Archdiocese, Ms. White served four different Milwaukee-area schools during her 22-year tenure as a principal after beginning her career as a teacher in special education. She earned her bachelor’s degree in education from Central Michigan University, a Master of Science in Administrative Leadership and an Education Specialist degree with a focus on the Superintendency from the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee.

“My career in education has been rooted in my passion for serving children with diverse learning needs and backgrounds,” said Ms. White. “Through advancing the church’s mission of Catholic education in Racine, I am committed to strengthening our schools and parishes, extending our evangelization efforts and forming students who become models of service and leadership in our community.”

Ms. White will assume her responsibilities as President on September 1. She will report to the Board of Directors and have two senior leaders reporting to her – the Director of Schools and the Director of Business. Both of these roles are under active recruitment.

Seton Catholic Schools Celebrates the Start of New School Year

And Welcomes Four New Schools to the Network

Aug. 2017 - Seton Catholic Schools celebrates the start of a new school year and welcomes four new schools into the network including: Catholic East Elementary, Our Lady Queen of Peace, St. Charles Borromeo and St. Roman Parish School.

Seton Catholic Schools is a network of 13 schools committed to transforming Catholic education in Milwaukee. Embarking on its second school year, Seton Catholic Schools has a student enrollment of 3,500, making Seton Catholic Schools the second largest education provider in the city of Milwaukee. With schools across Milwaukee, Seton Catholic Schools is guided by a rich tradition in Catholic faith and strives to prepare each child academically and spiritually for high school. Last year, The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel named Seton Catholic Schools the Education Organization of the Year.



On Holy Thursday, a group of parents organized a service morning for the entire St. Sebastian school. The Sebs' students dug deep into their hearts, and piggy banks, and raised $407.50 to purchase all the supplies needed to complete the projects. Two additional donations helped them to reach a total of $682.50.  With the materials purchased, the students participated in different projects to support organizations in the Milwaukee area, including: 

  • 200 ham sandwiches for the Guest House (2nd grade)
  • 100+ Easter cards for the Catholic Charities Adult Daycare (K4, K5, 5th & 6th)
  • 100 decorated cross necklaces and many personal letters to Educate Uganda (1st & 7th)
  • 100 flip-flops (beach sandals) and Prayer Cards to donate to Educate Uganda
  • 24 no-sew blankets for Catholic Charities Pregnancy Support Program (3rd, 4th, & 8th)
  • 14 no-sew blankets for Catholic Charities Refugee Resettlement Program (3rd, 4th, & 8th)

The entire student body acted in concert to help and serve others in the spirit of Christian Faith.  In response, Catholic Charities sent these very kind words: "There is something very alive and positive going on at St. Sebastian - and you are to be congratulated on advancing that living spirit!"

Our 2017 Herb Kohl Educational Foundation WINNERS!

Recipients of 2017 Herb Kohl Educational Foundation student scholarships and teacher fellowship awards have been announced. These awards recognize the importance of exceptional students and school leaders who create successful school environments for students and faculty members. Each student recipient receives a $5,000 scholarship and each fellowship award recipient will receive a $3,000 grant and a matching grant will be awarded to each fellow's school. Join us in congratulating our Catholic school winners!

Student Excellence Scholars  

Sara Pederson, Catholic Central High School
Brook McArdle, Divine Savior Holy Angels High School
Emily Nolan, Divine Savior Holy Angels High School
Sophia Mueller, Dominican High School
Matthew McLachlan, Marquette University High School
Morgan Kallay, St. Thomas More High School

Student Initiative Scholars

Laura Soto Andrade, Messmer High School
Amanda Wroblewski, St. Joseph Catholic Academy High School

Educational Foundation Fellowships

Catherine Zurawski, Pius XI Catholic High School
Naomi Stewart, Prince of Peace Catholic School
Michael Falk, St. Mary’s Visitation Parish School
Kristin Teska, St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic School, Waterford


St. Matthias Catholic School welcomes the Medical College of Wisconsin

Fourth graders from St. Matthias introduce their inventions to the Office of Technology Development Team from the Medical College of Wisconsin. These professionals take the time to research patents and competitive products so kids understand their inventions from conception to production to the marketplace. Wonderful work, students, and thank you MCW!


St. Peter School in East Troy wins FIRST® LEGO® League State Championship


St. Peter's School Brickbusters beat 400 other teams to take the title of Grand Champion on February 26 in the First Lego League (FLL) competition in Janesville, WI.  The team consists of 7 girls one boy in grades 6-8.  They are coached by our 3rd grade teacher Jenni Lehman.  The team will travel to the world competition at the end of April in St. Louis. 


Dominican High School fills walls with imagery

representing Mission & 5 Core Values


Dominican High School in Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin, recently renovated the lobby space outside of their theater. With a new gathering space, they wanted to incorporate a way to showcase their school's core values. They contacted fine art painter Tim Haglund, who specializes in large-scale, decorative architectural works. As a parent of a Dominican High School student, it was easy for him to interpret the school's core values. Please watch this video to see the wonderful space!


St. Adalbert Parish School in Milwaukee Receives

Recognition for Innovative School Redesign


St. Adalbert’s, a leading private K-8 school and parish, has been serving Milwaukee’s Catholic community since 1909, and its school office has been in need of an upgrade for almost as long. 

St. Adalbert School is a welcoming environment with a highly educated staff and fantastic young children who are always ready to learn. With dozens of employees and hundreds of students and parents to serve, the school wanted to provide an office that would have a friendly, modern look to encourage everyone to come on in whenever they needed to.

For help creating an office that works and invites, school officials looked to National Business Furniture for assistance. Read to find out what the school wanted to achieve and how NBF succeeded in providing it.





Exemplary Recognition School Awards for 2016

The Archdiocese of Milwaukee Office for Schools would like to recognize the following schools for the 2016 Exemplary Schools Program.

Awards for Academic Excellence

                St. Eugene School, Fox Point

                St. John Vianney School, Brookfield

                St. Robert School, Shorewood


Awards for Educating the Whole Student

                Catholic Memorial High School, Waukesha

                St. John Vianney, Brookfield


Awards for Mission and Catholic Identity

                Lumen Christi School, Mequon

                St. Alphonsus School, Greendale

                St. Charles School, Hartland

                St. Dominic School, Brookfield

                St. Eugene School, Fox Point

                St. John the Baptist School, Plymouth

                St. John the Evangelist School, Greenfield

                St. John Vianney School, Brookfield

                St. Mary's Visitation School, Elm Grove


Awards for Technology Integration

                Lumen Christi School, Mequon

                St. Robert School, Shorewood


Previously part of the accreditation process, the Exemplary Schools Program is now a separate process to identify schools with exceptional programs. Schools applied for recognition in four categories by submitting written applications. Schools with superior written applications were selected to be visited by a team of experts. For complete information about the Exemplary Recognition Program in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, please see: 

Congratulations to each of the schools for their outstanding commitment to Catholic education!

Archdiocese of Milwaukee Announces New High-Performing Educational System Designed to Strengthen Urban Milwaukee Catholic Schools


"Dear Friends in Christ,

Many blessings to you for a happy, healthy and productive New Year.  As many of you know, one of the top priorities of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee is a renewal of the  Church’s focus on issues of social justice.  Historically, it has been the Catholic Church’s presence that has contributed to the building of the city. We have done so through our parishes, schools, hospitals and charitable organizations. We have been a source of renewal, especially in times of crisis.

There are a number of priority initiatives underway throughout the Archdiocese to bring together and strengthen this outreach, as well as the ability of our parishes to do more and be more for those we serve, especially those who are marginalized. 

To that end, I am pleased to share with you news about the formation of a transformational educational system designed to help urban students overcome social and academic challenges and empower them, as well as their families and educators, to achieve their God-given potential.

Called Seton Catholic Schools, this independently chartered, financed and governed network of Archdiocese of Milwaukee Catholic elementary schools will eventually serve more than 10,000 kindergarten through eighth grade students throughout Milwaukee.   I encourage you to review the attached media release that provides greater detail about both our strategy and commitment, as well as the impressive leadership team charged to oversee all aspects of Seton Catholic Schools.

It is our mission and our duty to provide every child access to the highest caliber of academic instruction, as well as faith formation and character development.  We will continue to keep you informed of our progress over the coming months and I welcome your input, support and prayers as our leadership team undertakes this most important work.


Sincerely yours in Christ,

Most Reverend Jerome E. Listecki
Archbishop of Milwaukee

Please wait while we gather your results.

Kathleen A. Cepelka, Ph.D.
Superintendent of Catholic Schools

Sue Nelson
Associate Superintendent

John Soper
Associate Superintendent

Bruce Varick
Associate Superintendent

Carol Rybak
Schools Marketing Manager

Janelle Luther
Administrative Assistant

Maureen Wurster
Administrative Assistant

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The Archdiocese of Milwaukee

3501 South Lake Drive
PO Box 070912
Milwaukee, WI 53207-0912

Phone:  (414) 769-3300
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Fax:  (414)  769-3408