By Jeff Miller
Special to The Texas Catholic
PLANO — The greetings come early and often at Prince of Peace Catholic School.
“Hey, Mister Weber!”
That’s one of the perks for Faustin Weber, who became the school’s president in mid-October. Weber has been a Catholic school administrator since 1989 at age 27 after leaving Notre Dame with a master’s degree in theology, but he’s mostly been at high schools. Where the students wouldn’t be caught yelling hello to a school president or principal.
“They’d be too cool for that,” Weber said with a smile.
Weber arrived at Prince of Peace after serving as the founding principal of St. Michael Catholic High School near his native Mobile, Ala. The move back to an elementary school was greatly influenced by family; one of his four children and four of seven grandchildren live in north Dallas.
“It’s interesting to me to go to a different (academic) level as a change of pace,” Weber said. “Yesterday I taught an eighth-grade religion class just to get to know them.”
The position had been open since last winter, when Chad Evans left for John Paul II High School a couple of miles away. Father Michael Forge, Prince of Peace Catholic Community’s pastor, said he and the search committee were impressed by Weber’s credentials, experience and commitment to his faith.
“He’s a delight to have,” Father Forge said. “We’re so blessed.”
Weber planned to pursue a Ph.D. at Notre Dame and teach collegiately before deciding he could have a greater impact at secondary schools.
“The kids are more open to listening and trying to shape their lives,” he said. That took him to Montgomery, Ala., Nashville, Tenn., and home to Mobile.
Weber has been involved in Catholic education every year since age 5; his parents were active in Catholic charismatic renewal. That devotion led to a drastic transition for Weber before he entered the seventh grade. He and three siblings were transferred from the school at affluent, all-white St. Ignatius parish to the previously all-Black Most Pure Heart of Mary in Mobile’s inner city.
“Three (white) families did that,” he recalled. “Looking back, I think it was one of those pivotal moments for me in growing up and appreciating a different culture, building new friendships, getting me kind of out of my shell.”
As Prince of Peace’s president, Weber oversees the business operations rather than the “book learning.” He did that for eight years at a K-12 school in Montgomery.
“As I explained to the kids, my job is to try to help everybody’s boats rise,” Weber said.
The school is undergoing a massive physical renovation scheduled to be completed next year. Weber plans no such alterations internally.
“I’ve watched new leaders come in and start turning over tables and try to do new things,” he said. “What I’m trying to do this year is learn who the people are, learn how the school operates. And then I see myself over the course of the next three-to-five years making kind of incremental changes because the school’s in good shape.
“It’s healthy. It’s joyful.”