by Cori Hilsgen
Chris Schellinger was recently named the new president of All Saints Academy. He was chosen by the ASA board of directors and began his new position on May 28.
ASA consolidated five parishes located in St. Joseph, St. Cloud and Waite Park and is a Catholic school which includes pre-school through sixth-grade students. It’s concluding its first year of operation.
Schellinger will oversee and work with the five parishes, employees, the board of directors and families.
He is a graduate of St. John’s University and brings with him an extensive business background.
Schellinger said his new position is a good fit for his background and experience.
“I really have wanted to not just feel, but know I’m working with something that is very meaningful and will have an actual impact specifically in the local communities,” Schellinger said. “This certainly meets all of the criteria.”
He previously worked as the vice president of business development for a St. Joseph firm, working with non-profit organizations across the country. He has experience with fundraising, volunteerism, leadership and other areas.
Schellinger said he does not foresee any big changes with ASA but expects to see additional growth this year. He said the consolidation of the schools creates many opportunities they can take advantage of.
“The first year is really a lot of organization forming, getting through some of the initial big changes, and the second year will be a year of less change,” Schellinger said.
Because he is not an educator, he said he brings a different perspective. His focus will be working very collaboratively with the educators, the principals and teachers, as well as the parents.
“My background is in business and primarily organizational leadership and business development,” Schellinger said. “A big part of what I will be doing is working with everyone to move us forward to continue to grow the school and continue to develop the vision and plan for the future of what we hope ASA to look like three to five years from now.”
Schellinger also hopes to grow enrollment and encourage people to support ASA. He said the support can be in the form of time, talent or financial.
“We want to grow our school substantially in all these areas,” Schellinger said.
ASA enrollment, which is at about 425 students, he said has increased five percent in the last three weeks.
Schellinger said the ASA St. Joseph preschool program is currently filled for next year and it has a waiting list.
“That is a testament to Cheri Berg who is tremendous with her Montessori preschool program,” Schellinger said, who as the new president has the opportunity to meet students and staff and observe year-end school activities.
“One of the things that differentiates us is that our teachers are tremendous,” he said.
The ASA teachers work very hard to get to know students, Schellinger said, and that’s the reason students can get the right amount of attention. Teachers know their students well and can offer help if students need it in certain areas or help the student to excel in other areas.
Schellinger said he isn’t sure if that opportunity is always available with other school options.
As part of its mission to educate the whole child, Schellinger said it will be important for ASA to continue to improve in the areas of art, music, foreign language, physical education and more.
Schellinger lives south of Avon. He has been married to Cathy for 22 years. They have two daughters, Jordan and Leah. Jordan is studying anthropology at Grinnell College in Iowa and will be studying Arabic in Amman, Jordan in the fall. Leah is a senior at St. John’s Prep.
Schellinger enjoys reading and has a large vegetable garden. He also enjoys hunting and fishing and has two red lab hunting dogs named ‘Copper’ and ‘Red.’
“I am truly excited about this school and its future,” he said. “There are so many opportunities we have the chance to take advantage of in coming together as one school such as the talent we have with the committed parents and teachers. It’s a very strong organization at the ground level and we are in our second year of growing.
He said it’s going to be an exciting future and he hopes people will take a look at ASA.
“Keep watching and see some of the things we will be developing over the next year and beyond,” Schellinger said. “I am always open to hear from people to see what their ideas and thoughts are.”