Catholic School Matters

November 9, 2020

God in Disguise

In early October, I was informed that my superintendent position is being eliminated at the end of this academic year (see announcement here) due to a fiscal shortage. This is unfortunate for our schools and disruptive for the life of the Uhl family. But it's a challenge that we'll all face and I thought I would share a few insights which have emerged since then.

Insight #1: God comes to us disguised as our life.

I’ve read this quote by Fr. Richard Rohr attributed to Paula D’Arcy, who was writing after a drunk driver killed her husband and one-year-old child. I’m not the best listener or observer to my own life. So it makes sense that God would use something as drastic as my job being eliminated to spur me to action. I’m paying attention now!

I’ve come to view this negative news as a gift. In this tumultuous 2020, it was the final upending. It’s time to take stock of what I’m doing and figure out where God is calling the Uhl family.

Insight #2: God speaks to us through others.

I often ask God to reveal his plans for me during prayer. But it never comes right then. However, in the past few weeks, friends and colleagues have reached out to guide me, direct me, and lift me up. So now I’m keeping a “words” journal to keep track of the insights and consolations that are coming from my conversations.

I’m having great conversations and re-connecting with friends and former colleagues that I haven’t spoken to in years. It’s been a fruitful few weeks. So what am I going to do? Right now I’m attracted to the idea of returning to school leadership and putting my efforts and focus on one community.

I am planning to keep serving Montana Catholic Schools for the next eight months and helping schools transition to the new normal. And I’ll be placing Catholic School Matters on hiatus for a couple of months to give me more time to explore new opportunities. Don't worry, I plan to resume in 2021.

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Dr. Tim Uhl

Catholic Schools


Teaching & Learning


Catholic School Matters podcast

Wednesday on the Catholic School Matters podcast I have the chance to catch up with Dr. Hosffman Ospino of Boston College. We talk about building a better church to reflect the reality of our American Catholic Church. He has an exceptionally valuable idea for Catholic schools--namely, to focus on recruiting the burgeoning Hispanic middle class.

Check out the past episodes from this season:

What I'm Reading

    The Last 5 Books:

    1. Friedman's Fables (1990) by Edwin H. Friedman
    2. I Want to See: What the Story of Blind Bartimaeus Teaches Us (2017) by Roc O'Connor, SJ
    3. Jesus and the Disinherited (1996) by Howard Thurman

    4. Show Them You're Good: A Portrait of Boys in the City of Angels the Year Before College (2020) by Jeff Hobbs

    5. What Were We Thinking: A Brief Intellectual History of the Trump Era (2020) by Carlos Lozada

            Click this link for a full list of my professional reading

            Past Issues of Catholic School Matters

            Nov 2, 2020 "Sharks and Survival"

            Oct 26, 2020 "Mt. Rushmore Controversy"

            Oct 19, 2020 "The Cleveland Partnership"

            Oct 5, 2020 "Governance Reform"

            Sep 28, 2020 "Autonomy & Radar"

            Sep 21, 2020 "Learning While Doing"

            Sep 14, 2020 "Connecting the Disconnected"

            Aug 31, 2020 "Racial Injustice"

            Aug 24, 2020 "Figuring it Out"

            Aug 17, 2020 Serenity Prayer

            May 24, 2020 Value Proposition During Uncertain Times

            For previous newsletters, click this link

            Orchestrating Conflict

            Orchestrating Conflict: Case Studies in Catholic Leadership is now available on Amazon or on the Barnes & Noble site in print or e-book formats. The book explores issues in Catholic school leadership and the tensions between building community and following Church policies and introduces deliberate practice as a method for leadership formation. This is my first book and has been an ongoing project for the past couple of years.