New McAuley principal uses her young age to her advantage
New McAuley principal uses her young age to her advantageOK, let’s get this out of the way right now.
Yes, new Mother McAuley High School Principal Eileen Boyce looks young. That’s because she is young. She is 29 and looks even more youthful.
There are likely still some people out there who think an all-Catholic girls school principal should be ancient and cranky and ready to break knuckles with rulers. There are some people out there who realize that men and women of various ages can handle the job of principal quite well.
But even the most liberal of folks can’t help but notice how young Boyce looks. Heck, the Oak Lawn native and Orland Park resident could pass for one of the students.
“I am fully aware of people’s reaction,” Boyce said on Monday. “From my end, people have been positive about it. For me, it’s an advantage. It’s a benefit. And I’m lucky that people around me to strengthen me in ways in certain experiences that I haven’t had.
“For those who have concerns about my age, once people see the direction McAuley is taking, they will see I have a lot of experience in what we are doing to move forward, I think all of their concerns would be faded away. At least that’s the goal.’’
Boyce earned the spot after nationwide search and interview process. She graduated from the Chicago school in 2003 and is the first alumna to be named principal of the school, which is the largest all-girls high school in the country with 1,200 students.
Little did she know when she was sitting in the classroom, playing basketball or managing the volleyball team back in the early 2000s that she would be running the school a decade later.
“It’s funny because we had these senior Academy Awards at the end of my senior year,” she said. “I think I was voted most likely to return as a teacher at Mother McAuley. Once that was said, it was always in my mind that I wanted to be a teacher.’’
She never got that chance. But she taught at St. John Fischer and said that working with Principal Jean McGrath helped her develop and itch for the administrative side of education.
Boyce joined Mother McAuley in 2012 as assistant principal. Her achievements during her tenure include directing the AdvancED accreditation process, co-chairing the Academic Council, directing the implementation of the Strategic Academic Plan and creating and implementing a 1:1 iPad® program.
In an era when enrollments are dwindling at Catholic schools in the Chicago area — Mt. Assisi in Lemont just closed shop in June — Boyce has confidence in McAuley’s numbers.
“Our numbers are strong,” she said. “Certainly it’s a sacrifice for parents to make financially for their children to attend Catholic schools. I know they see the benefit at Mother McAuley. We will remain strong and I am confident in the future.’’
While there were some whispers in the past about the school possibly merging with Brother Rice, Boyce said she’s not aware of those talks and even though McAuley has a strong relationship with Brother Rice, the plans are to keep McAuley as a single-gender school.