Leaders for a new era

School community adjusts under new leadership with high hopes for the years to come

Every day, as the sun rises to illuminate the sky in shades of pink, orange, and yellow, one man stands out on the circle, greeting students as they enter the school. Each student that passes is met with a fist bump, a high five, or a cordial “how are you?”. And the most amazing thing of it all? The man seems to know many of the students by name, giving them a personal greeting as they walk into the halls of Roncalli. His identity: Mr. John Hasty.

This school year marks a big change for Hasty; he has gone from solely teaching history to filling the role of assistant principal for student life. With the new position comes an increased amount of responsibility.

“Looking at my position, there’s a lot of new responsibilities that I see as a lot of different buckets. On one hand, I have to focus on improving student life and the student experience, but I’m also tasked with monitoring and responding to the social and emotional needs of the student body,” Hasty said.

In addition to enhancing student life through planning activities and engaging with club moderators, Hasty also aims to serve as a liaison for all students, especially those from outside the south deanery.

“One of my big goals for this year is to have a 100% retention rate, especially amongst our out of deanery students,” Hasty said. “It’s all about meaningful relationships. There’s a unique story that each student has to share, and I want to get to know those stories.” 

Hasty also hopes for the school to return to its pre-COVID levels of engagement.

“We try to plan events that are worthwhile and will draw students in,” Hasty said. “While what we do in this building between 7:30 and 3:00 is renowned and unbelievably important, the Roncalli community is also built around the opportunities that we offer outside of the classroom. It’s through these opportunities that we maintain and enhance the environment that the people before us have built.”

In addition, Hasty still personally engages with students in the classroom setting as a teacher of AP World History.

“It’s been a challenge adjusting to AP World,” Hasty said. “There’s a give and take [to teaching AP World] and the take is that it’s hard to teach; however, the give is that it’s kept me involved in teaching–what I’m passionate about.”

Enter the role of (interim) principal. When a student walks into Mr. Kevin Banich’s office, one of the first things they notice is a hulking replica of a bald eagle hanging above his door frame. The image of the eagle with its spread wings captures the same intense and passionate energy that Banich conveys on the announcements each school day.

As his confidence while delivering the announcements conveys, Banich seems to be finding his stride in his new role.

“It’s been an enjoyable year,” Banich said. “It’s exciting to be back in the vibrant school community.”

Banich is especially thrilled to view the school from a new perspective.
“I’ve been lucky enough to interact with the school community as a student, alumni, and teacher. To see Roncalli from the lens of the principal and see how much good work goes on here has been incredible,” Banich said.

Despite the newfound excitement that comes from stepping into the role of principal, there is also an increase in pressure and responsibility.

“As principal, you have the responsibility of being the visible leader of the building,” Banich said. “The buck stops with you in terms of the day to day operations of the school as well.”

Although he stands to face new challenges, Banich is embarking on his journey as principal with a wealth of experience.

“The transition is going well from the standpoint of continuity. There’s so much continuity that I have time to learn the new role while the school keeps moving forward,” Banich said.

There seems to be a wide variety of facets to being principal for Banich to learn.

“No two problems are alike and no two days are similar,” Banich said. “In one moment you’re finding a substitute, in the next you’re speaking to a student or parent, and in the next you’re discussing school curriculum. Every challenge is different and unique.”

While day-to-day operations continue to progress under his lead, as interim principal, Banich also hopes to provide consistency for the community.

“We’ve gone through so much the past few years,” Banich said. “It’s time to return to being a vibrant and transformative school community and school.”

While Hasty and Banich are largely occupied with the day-to-day operations of the school, school president Mr. Chuck Weisenbach has broader goals in mind. 

As president, Weisenbach is tasked with a different role within the school community. He’s traded his boisterous delivery of the announcements and bright red Roncalli blazer for a more refined and slow-paced role.

“The president’s job is always looking out a week ahead or a month ahead,” Weisenbach said. “It doesn’t have the exact nature of [being] principal.”

Weisenbach’s responsibilities are a bit more abstract since he became president. Instead of coming to school and facing the challenges of the day, he meets with committees and tries to network with organizations in order to enhance the variety of opportunities that the school can offer.

Additionally, Weisenbach connects with donors in order to help raise money for the annual fund that ensures that Roncalli can offer financial aid to students in need. The annual fund also this year goes towards faculty enrichment and towards upgrading school facilities such as the auditorium.

Despite the long-term nature of the role of president, Weisenbach still plays an important role in defining the nature of the school community.

“My job is to monitor the financial health and wellbeing of the school. I also make sure Roncalli maintains its Catholic identity and is effective in its mission,” said Weisenbach.

One way that Weisenbach is trying to ensure that the school lives out its mission is through the use of a strategic plan. By conducting focus groups with students, staff, faculty, alumni, and donors, Weisenbach hopes to gain a better understanding of what the school is doing well and what could be improved upon.

Although the thought of having top leadership changes in the same year, Banich, Hasty, and Weise

nbach each approach their new roles with significant knowledge of the school community that they serve. Each hopes to return the school to its pre-pandemic energy while at the same time building upon and

improving the school environment. Whether that improvement takes the form of a solved problem, an engaging new club, or upgraded state-of-the art facilities, Roncalli will continue to grow and improve.