Fred Pestello may be the first lay president of Saint Louis University, but he is hardly ignoring the school’s mission grounded in Jesuit philosophy.
At his inauguration Friday morning, Pestello told faculty, staff, students, alumni and representatives of other universities that the traditions of a Jesuit education mean that SLU must “ask the most compelling questions of our time. Our mission statement itself is a reflection of this extraordinary vocation. We commit ourselves to the pursuit of truth for the greater glory of God and the service of humanity….
A tutoring program that now serves 150 students in north St. Louis could expand to help 350 more students in the city and north St. Louis County with the help of $500,000 in federal funds awarded by the state of Missouri.
Almost 20,000 students in St. Louis and Kansas City attended a charter school last school year. That’s nearly twice as many compared to the 2003-04 school year. And the breadth of charter school options could grow as the Missouri Charter Public School Commission begins to take shape.
For the last five years, Chris Nicastro has served as commissioner of Missouri's Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. She announced her retirement earlier this month and will step down at the end of the year.
Her tenure was marked by controversial decisions regarding school districts in north St. Louis County, including the Normandy School District, now known as the Normandy Schools Collaborative.
St. Louis Public Radio education reporter Dale Singer spoke with Nicastro earlier this week and we aired a portion of that conversation on “St. Louis on the Air.”
Depending on whose opinion you get, this week’s initial meetings to draw up new school standards for Missouri students were a “Common Core cheerleading session” or a strong-arm attempt that was “hijacked by political extremists” on the right.
Either way, the eight committees impaneled under a law passed earlier this year appear to have a long way to go to meet a deadline of having the new standards ready for approval a year from now.
As she moves toward her retirement after more than five years as Missouri’s commissioner of elementary and secondary education, Chris Nicastro has definite thoughts about what she got done, what she would have liked to accomplish and what her successor needs to bring to the job.
She also – after just a slight hesitation – has a pretty good idea of how, as a teacher, she would grade her tenure in Jefferson City.
“Oh …. probably a C-plus,” she said during a wide-ranging interview this week at the Wainwright state office building downtown.