Jeremy Ekeler is principal of the Cathedral of the Risen Christ School.
What year did you graduate, and did you then know you could be a Catholic school administrator?
I graduated from Pius in 1997, from UNL in 2002 and from Saint Xavier in 2009. When I left Pius I had plans to be a writer, and actually moved to New York and worked in a publishing house for a bit. The call to administration was ignited by an amazing man and leader named Dr. Alan Jones, who was my professor and mentor at SXU.
What do you remember about Pius X that still has an impact on you today?
Well, first my wife – we met there and she impacts me in beautiful and powerful ways every day. Next, and I took this for granted for years, was the fact that at Pius I always knew people believed in me. That sounds strange, but looking back I recall so many moments where I was told my standard should be higher, or that I had a lot of potential, or that I was worth investing in. I guess there’s so much “You’re too hard on yourself” in today’s world that I think being told we have more in us is a most productive message.
What is it about not just education, but Catholic education that motivates you?
The truth cannot be taught without the Truth. You are loved, infinitely, and that doesn’t have to be earned…just accepted. That message of love is eternal, and today’s students need it more than ever. Catholic schools, therefore, are vital to this generation because they love the truth and display the Truth of love. We believe young parents want this, or once revealed understand its impact on their families. That vibrant faith community is why our Cathedral enrollment is up over 30% in four years.
How has elementary school changed since you were in elementary school, and how might it change for the next generation?
Children spend so much more time alone, in isolation and on devices. What used to be terrifying to consider occurring to a 16 year-old is now commonplace for an 8 year-old. Kids experience so much more trauma, hurt, neglect and pain that teachers are called to counsel, console and start every interaction with compassion. Technology, pedagogy, methods and resources have all evolved, but the game hasn’t changed: hire loving teachers who put kids first and stay out of their way. Amazing things will happen.