In 2000, Father Al Koppes, then dean of the LMU School of Education, and Sister Mary Elizabeth Galt, then superintendent of Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, met to discuss the development of an LMU Catholic teacher service program. With the number of religious teaching in Catholic schools on the decline, there was strong need for lay Catholic school teachers to continue this vocation.
More than 10 years later, the program created out of that conversation – PLACE Corps (Partners in Los Angeles Catholic Education) – commissioned its thirteenth cohort this summer. In a Mass celebrated by Father Koppes, 29 new PLACE Corps members began their two-year teaching commitment in primarily under-resourced Catholic elementary and high schools in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.
Sister Mary Elizabeth Galt – now the Chancellor of the Archdiocese – was recognized by the PLACE Corps at this year’s Mass for her dedication and support of the program and all Catholic schools in Los Angeles. In the early years, Sister Mary Elizabeth Galt helped the program build strong relationships with principals and acquire convents where the corps members live together in community during the two-year program.
With more than 250 total alumni and almost 100 of them still teaching or working in support of Catholic education, PLACE Corps has proved to be a resounding success in preparing well-trained and dedicated teachers committed to the future of Catholic schools.
Sister Mary Elizabeth Galt’s vision was always for the next generation of Catholic school leadership to emerge from the program’s ranks. Today, her vision has become a reality, as there are 11 PLACE Corps alumni currently serving as Catholic school principals.