April 23, 2021

Two great passions will guide new Catholic school superintendent for the archdiocese

Brian Disney, newly appointed superintendent of Catholic Schools for the archdiocese, is pictured with his wife Tracy and their daughter Kate. (Submitted photo)

Brian Disney, newly appointed superintendent of Catholic Schools for the archdiocese, is pictured with his wife Tracy and their daughter Kate. (Submitted photo)

By John Shaughnessy

After the announcement on April 14 that Brian Disney will become the new superintendent of Catholic schools in the archdiocese on July 1, he shared three snapshots of the person and educator he is—snapshots that provide a glimpse of the leader he will be.

Focusing on his emphasis of service to others, Disney said, “Students and staff would not be surprised to see me with a mop, cleaning up a spill in the hallway or cafeteria.”

Stressing his focus on being there for students, the principal of Mooresville High School shared, “We had a young lady who tragically lost both of her parents. When she returned to the school, she wanted to talk with me as her principal. And she continued to come to me for help and support.”

And emphasizing his belief that education should be a journey touched with joy, he recalled that he “wore a hot dog outfit and handed out candy to make students and staff laugh right after state testing ended.”

Then there is the most telling part of Disney’s desire to become the leader of the 68 Catholic schools in the archdiocese that serve more than 20,000 students across central and southern Indiana. That was the emphasis that the member of St. Thomas More Parish in Mooresville shared in his letter to the search committee.

Disney wrote, “I am interested in combining my two great passions: education of future generations and my Catholic faith.”

“My personal life mission is to build up the kingdom of God through servant leadership in educating hearts, minds and souls,” he said in an interview with

The Criterion. “My personal motto is ‘Faith and Family, Teach and Lead.’ Faith and family are the core of who I am. Teach and lead is how I express and live who I am.”

Married for nearly 25 years to his wife Tracy, the 50-year-old Disney is the father of Kate, a junior in college.

“My family and I are extremely excited for this opportunity to serve the Church and our Catholic schools,” he said. “I’m looking forward to having an impact on the upcoming generations of Catholic leaders who will make a positive difference in our state, country and world. I feel overwhelmed with this responsibility but know that the Holy Spirit will be guiding me.”

A leader of ‘enthusiasm, passion and faith’

Disney brings a wealth of credentials to his new position. He earned his bachelor’s degree in secondary mathematics at Butler University in Indianapolis, a master’s degree in school counseling from Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, and a doctorate in educational leadership from Indiana University.

In his 28 years as an educator, he has been a teacher, a coach, a counselor and, since 2013, the principal of Mooresville High School.

Disney was chosen by an archdiocesan committee that began a nationwide search after Gina Fleming resigned in August of 2020. Since then, former assistant superintendent Mary McCoy has served as interim superintendent.

The combination of Disney’s leadership and the depth of his Catholic faith was praised by Archbishop Charles C. Thompson.

“Brian is a very devout Catholic who has been very active in his parish and beyond in living out his baptismal call to holiness and mission. Catholic identity is very important to him,” the archbishop said. “He brings to the position of superintendent a great deal of experience in education and school administration.”

The archbishop also focused on the “enthusiasm, passion and faith” that Disney will bring to the position, and he noted that Disney received high marks from the archdiocesan search committee and staff members of the archdiocese’s Office of Catholic Schools (OCS).

“Obviously, there is a learning curve for anyone who takes on such a position,” the archbishop added, “but Brian is quite capable and will be serving with wonderful people in OCS and in schools throughout the archdiocese.”

Disney was also praised by the leaders of the archdiocesan search committee, chancellor Annette “Mickey” Lentz and vice chancellor Christopher Walsh.

“I am most impressed by his faith, his commitment to education and his vision for the archdiocese moving forward,” Lentz said. “Brian will be well-received in the archdiocese and by the school administrators because he is a caring person and very authentic in how he leads and how he wants to serve. I see him as being able, in time, to build relationships both within and outside the archdiocese. We are blessed to have him.”

Walsh was also impressed by Disney:

“The combination of his Christ-centered values, his energy and passion for education and his rich experience as an education leader make Brian an outstanding choice to safeguard the standard of excellence for which our archdiocesan schools are known.”

‘I have regular conversations with God’

The emphasis on faith that Disney will bring to the superintendent position is a focus he has lived as a member of St. Thomas More Parish.

He has served as a lector, the chair of the stewardship commission, an extraordinary minister of holy Communion and a member of the capital campaign team. He has also taught catechism classes for youths and helped to prepare them for confirmation.

He credits his involvement to the great example of his parents and grandparents, noting they have also shaped his faith.

“My commitment to Jesus Christ and his teachings has only grown,” he said. “I have regular conversations with God, and I know that he is always there for me.

“Whether things are going well, or it is a tough day, I know that God is present and is sharing the day with me. Jesus is one of my best friends, and a highlight of the week is spending time with him in eucharistic adoration.”

His goal for Catholic students across the archdiocese is that they will learn to build their lives on the foundations of serving others and developing a deep relationship with God.

“My hope is that our Catholic students will have the courage to pursue greatness in all areas of their lives,” Disney said. “They will seek to live the Gospel values in their lives as they grow in their faith and journey to sainthood and everlasting life with God.

“I look forward to partnering with the families—the domestic churches—in helping their children grow spiritually, academically, athletically. Our graduates will become men and women of God who joyfully serve others and the Church.”

A father’s influence, and a calling from God

In seeking that goal, Disney said he will be guided by an approach that he learned from watching his role model in education—his father.

“My dad, Jim, was a teacher, coach, athletic director and principal as I was growing up,” Disney recalled. “By observing him, I was able to see how to live one’s Catholic identity by serving others through education.

“My faith has also helped me to see my students as people with hearts, minds and souls that all need to be developed and cultivated. My belief that all people are good—and we have to bring that out in them—has helped in dealing with students facing challenging circumstances. Jesus told us multiple times not to judge, so I try to not judge students, but to teach and encourage them to be their best selves.”

Disney views the opportunity to lead Catholic schools in the archdiocese as another way to bring out his best.

“I feel that God has called me to this position at this time, and that the Holy Spirit led the entire process.

“I’m excited that I will be able to share my faith life openly with colleagues, students and families. I’m excited that I will be able to participate in daily Mass more often. I’m excited that I will be able to talk about helping to develop saints and instill Gospel values.” †

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