By Cathy Harasta
The Texas Catholic
The copy room at St. Pius X Catholic School mostly served as a functional but unremarkable work space until a mid-June morning when Chris Sanders reinvented the area as the new principal’s office.
The room received a spirited makeover as Sanders, the school’s new principal, unpacked boxes and arranged photographs on his walls.
He said that the copy room’s central location offered more accessibility than the former principal’s office.
“I can see the courtyard out my window,” said Sanders, who had served since 2013 as assistant principal at Prince of Peace Catholic School in Plano. “I want people to know that I’m available. I am here to serve.”
Several pictures on Sanders’ office walls featured Catholic Bowl championship teams that he had coached when he served at St. Paul the Apostle Catholic School in Richardson in the early 2000s.
“The big thing is when the kids come back and see me,” Sanders said. “I love knowing that I’ve made an impact on their lives. I value those kids and will always be there for them to help them with life lessons.”
He said that his goal at St. Pius X is to ensure academic excellence, Catholic identity and a strong school-community relationship.
“I want people to know that I’m here to do a good job for them and to be supportive,” he said. “I feel that we have a great administrative team and great teachers. I feel really blessed to be a part of the St. Pius X community.”
Sanders, a 1995 graduate of Austin College in Sherman—where he set a rushing record that since has fallen—received his master’s degree in Catholic School Leadership from the University of Dallas.
He taught world geography and coached football and track in the Lancaster Independent School District before serving in various capacities, including athletic director at St. Paul the Apostle.
The St. Paul the Apostle community influenced his decision to enter the Catholic faith in 2004.
“The families I met meant a lot to me,” said Sanders, who grew up in Carthage, Texas. “The parish took me in. It made me a Catholic man.”
Sanders, 41, also has taught theology and coached at Bishop Lynch High School, and served at All Saints Catholic School.
During his years of teaching and coaching at Bishop Lynch, the school awarded Sanders its John F. Kennedy Award, which salutes an individual whose life exemplifies JFK’s ideals of integrity, courage and other positive traits.
Sanders, a father of four, and his wife, Rori, live in Garland and are members of St. Paul the Apostle Catholic Church.
Chad Evans, principal of Prince of Peace, said that he got to know Sanders when both traveled to Honduras on summer mission trips.
“Chris has a lot of energy,” Evans said. “He does a wonderful job of engaging students and parents in trusting relationships. He’s a personable, fun-loving guy who makes friends with anyone.”
Bishop Lynch President Chris Rebuck said that Sanders inspires with his sense of humor and dedication.
“He definitely is that guy who will roll up his sleeves,” Rebuck said. “He’s somebody the students, parents and teachers are drawn to.”
Sanders loves to cook and often prepares his specialties, including smoked meats, for his colleagues.
He said that time spent devoting himself to the nourishment and pleasing of others rewards him in many ways.
“His brisket is competition-level,” Rebuck said. “And his process of preparing it is a labor of love and patience.”