First Place Award for General Excellence, Catholic Press Association, 2013-2016

Sister June Clare to Guide Catholic Identity in Schools
By DAN PIETRAFESA
John Raiola

Sister June Clare Tracy, O.P., admits she never happily leaves a ministry, but she also welcomes a new challenge.

Dr. Timothy J. McNiff, superintendent of schools for the archdiocese, promoted Sister June Clare to the new post of executive director for Catholic identity.

Sister June Clare will assume her new position on Sept. 1, after serving for 20 years as the Manhattan region’s superintendent of schools for the archdiocese.

“It’s a great honor Cardinal Dolan and Dr. McNiff have bestowed upon me and offered me this position,’’ Sister June Clare told CNY in an interview June 2.

“I know they both have confidence in me. It certainly is a challenge, and I know I will do my best to rise up to that challenge. I know with the grace of almighty God, at the end, all will be fine.’’

The position was created to supervise and build on the work done by Paige Sanchez, associate superintendent for mission effectiveness, and to coordinate with the pastors serving on the Archdiocesan Catholic Identity Committee and the regional Catholic identity advisory subcommittees, according to a release from the superintendent of schools office in the archdiocese announcing Sister June Clare’s appointment.

“We are proud and honored to have a religious and educational leader with Sister June Clare’s passion for Catholic education, her depth of knowledge and her experience to guide our schools and define this important new position,’’ McNiff said in the statement.

Sister June Clare said Cardinal Dolan asked to meet with McNiff and the regional superintendents shortly before Christmas, and spoke of his concern for Catholic identity in the archdiocese schools. The creation of the position resulted from the dialogue between Cardinal Dolan and the superintendent of schools.

“I think to a certain extent the role has not yet been defined, and yet to a certain extent it is defined because the Catholic identity is the very basic foundation upon which our schools are built,’’ Sister June Clare said.

Sister June Clare added the “whole way of life has radically changed’’ in the 21st century. She recalled when she started teaching having only one student from one of her classes coming from a home with separated parents, and she now wonders how many current students come from a two-parent home.

Some students come from homes with two working parents, leaving students to put in longer days at school. Some parents are dropping off children on their way to work to attend before-school programs and they pick them up on their way home from work after the children participate in an after-school program.

“It’s a whole different set of challenges we face today. I think each generation faces its own set of challenges,’’ Sister June Clare said.

Sister June Clare, a Dominican Sister of Sparkill for 52 years, began her ministries as a teacher and principal at archdiocese schools, mostly at schools in the Bronx. She holds a doctorate in education from St. John’s University.

She assumed her current role on Sept. 1, 1996, as district superintendent of schools in Manhattan, where she enjoyed “helping principals grow and develop to be the administrators of the full potential that God intended them to be.’’

She will miss this task from her current superintendent’s position.

“I’ve never really left any ministry happily. That’s just who I am. Manhattan has been a wonderful experience,’’ she said.

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