Magis Catholic Teacher Corps Welcomes Largest Cohort, New City

Magis Catholic Teacher Corps Welcomes Largest Cohort, New City

In August, Creighton’s Magis Catholic Teacher Corps sent its largest cohort ever to teach in Catholic schools in seven cities across the U.S., including a new location in Tucson, Arizona. The 32 students are gaining valuable teaching experience, while also pursuing a master’s degree in education from Creighton.

In addition to Tucson, Creighton’s Magis students are teaching in schools in Kansas City, Missouri; Kansas City, Kansas; Sioux City, Iowa; Winnebago, Nebraska; Milwaukee; and Omaha. Participants live together in groups of three to eight in intentional Christian communities during the school year, attend a summer spirituality course on campus and participate in retreats throughout the year.

“To engage in Ignatian spirituality as a young adult in the world today, that’s a big focus of ours,” says Colleen Chiacchere, MS’14, Magis director.

When Creighton’s program started 17 years ago, with a gift from John Micek Jr., BS’50, and Ann Louise Micek, BA’75, it was only open to those who wanted to teach but didn’t have an education degree. Today, the program is open to both those who hold a teaching degree and those who don’t, offering graduate degrees in educational leadership, school counseling, educational specialist, and secondary and elementary education.

Initially only serving financially under-resourced schools, Magis has expanded to send teachers anywhere their gifts and talents can be used best.

Creighton looks for applicants with leadership initiative, involvement in service and openness to the calling of teaching.

Not every school is right for Magis, Chiacchere says. Partner schools need a principal who is willing to form new Catholic educators, and who supports the program’s mission.

This year’s group includes students with diverse backgrounds. Franz Schuck, for instance, fixed string instruments, an elite job requiring a full apprenticeship, before enrolling in Magis. John Ryan was an actor, sushi chef and graphic designer. Craig Krueger was studying law before entering the program, and Maddalena Pagila has a degree in zoology.

“The people who are driven to join our program just help the program in so many ways,” Assistant Director Jeremy Graney says. “They’re great representatives of the schools and take on leadership roles outside of Magis.”

It’s those kinds of driven teachers who have made Magis a must-have for principals across the U.S.

“We’ve had long relationships with schools,” Graney says. “Word gets around. They’ve heard about us; (they) say, ‘We want Magis teachers.’ That just goes to all the good work our teachers are doing in schools.”

Dave Mason, the principal of San Miguel High School in Tucson, Magis’ newest home, knew of the good work of Magis teachers. Mason had been a principal in Minneapolis, where Magis teachers have worked in the past, before he moved to Arizona. A teacher shortage in Arizona led him to look for more resources.

“He said he wanted Magis teachers in his new school. He knew firsthand what the quality of a Magis teacher is,” Chiacchere says.

After the required two years in the program, many Magis graduates end up staying at their placement schools.

“It’s very much an extension of the Creighton values. Someone who’s drawn to living out their faith,” Chiacchere says. “You want to serve and are excited about that interaction of faith and action.

“All of our people are excellent human beings, but also stellar teachers. They’re drawn to being better educators.”