Dr. Brooke Cortese Tesche

Dr. Brooke Cortese Tesche is the new Superintendent of Secondary Schools and Schools of Special Education for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. Her appointment is effective, today, Monday, Feb. 13.

Dr. Tesche is a veteran educator and administrator with over two decades of classroom and administrative experience in Catholic education.

As Superintendent, Dr. Tesche will provide faith formation, academic, and operational direction, and support to the 15 archdiocesan high schools and 3 schools of special education serving tens of thousands of students each day throughout the five-county region.

SEE RELATED>> Dr. Brooke Cortese Tesche named new superintendent of high schools, schools of special education

Catholic Philly recently spoke with Dr. Tesche about her previous experience, goals for her new role, and how she plans to work alongside school families, students, administrators, and teachers to form Missionary Disciples.


Q: What excites you the most about your new role in service to Catholic education in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia?

A: I’m most excited about being a member of an incredible team that is focused on the future with a commitment to growth. Together, we have an incredible opportunity to share the joy and love of our Lord with our Catholic school community including administration, teachers, students, and families. We’re here not only to plant seeds, but also to work collaboratively and deliberately to encourage personal encounters with Jesus Christ as we help one another to grow in our personal relationship with Him.

The responsibility of leadership on the team is to empower and authorize innovation as a change agent to secure the future of our Catholic schools and Church for generations to come. I can’t wait to be back home! I’m looking forward to meeting people as we pray, listen, and learn together. I’m confident that ideas for growth are already in motion and will continue to flourish as we step forward into the future.

Q: What can archdiocesan school families, students, administrators, and staff to know about expect from you in terms of your leadership style?

A: My leadership style is authentically servant leadership. I’m here to serve our schools, parishes, and broader community. My style is also relational in that I want to be together with our people walking and working toward our common goal of creating Missionary Disciples. I like to have fun. Bring joy and hope into the room and the conversation are important to me and I strive to seek solutions. I want everyone to have a voice as we work together to build the future. I know we have many talented individuals and I want their unique gifts to be front and center as we ask for God’s Grace and always follow his will for our future.

Q: How do you intend to make your mark on the Archdiocese of Philadelphia Schools System?

A: Wow! That’s a noteworthy question and my answer is that I always stay open to how the Holy Spirit moves my soul. I’ve been blessed to see how our Church can impact lives in deeply positive ways and I will always advocate for the most vulnerable, those in need, and work to instill the value of a compassionate heart in our young people.

Q: The Office of Catholic Education partners with schools and families in the holistic formation of young men and women. What is your role in this partnership?

A: I deeply value my role with schools and families and am honored to be part of our holistic approach to forming our young men and women of character as servant leaders. Our families are the first educators of their children and we work together to meet the spiritual, academic, social, and emotional needs of students and families. We can’t accomplish this goal without ongoing input, support, and continued commitment for the value our Catholic schools and parishes as we together come to know, love and serve our Lord.

Q: You previously served as Secretary for Evangelization, Formation, and Education in the Diocese of Allentown. What lessons did you learn in that role that will be a valuable tool to help you grow in your new role?

A: In my previous role in the Diocese of Allentown I learned a great deal with the guidance of our dynamic shepherd, Bishop Alfred Schlert. We recognized the integration of world class education in conjunction with forming our faculty, students, and families with the knowledge, tools, and experience needed to evangelize disciples. I was also graced with experience in understanding all the logistical levers we need to strategically align in making successful growth for our schools and parishes a reality. I understand the intricate details of the education industry and their unique intersection with Catholic schools and parish life. Working with the business side of educational administration allowed innovation to flourish and, through the support of our Bishop, we were able to create new ministries to serve unique populations and strengthen those we served.

Q: What do you see as the greatest joys and greatest challenges working in the field of Catholic education?

A: The greatest joy in the field of Catholic education is sharing our love of Jesus in all that we experience as a community. The opportunity to celebrate the beauty of the Eucharist as one and pray together fills my heart with joy. The challenges in the field of Catholic education are to remain vigilant for growth opportunities and guard ourselves against fear while creating and trying new ways to share how a culture of Missionary Discipleship can truly change the world.

Q: Archbishop Pérez has worked to instill a culture of Missionary Discipleship in to the Church of Philadelphia. What does Missionary Discipleship mean to you and how will you further that culture in our schools?

A: I love this question because my father and I just had this discussion. He and I speak frequently throughout the week and he is my inspiration. Missionary Discipleship can be confusing for those outside of our Catholic community to understand. I see a beautiful opportunity in that space. As missionary disciples we are disciples of Christ in how we pray and live our lives according to his Word. The missionary aspect is what catches my heart on fire because it means taking God’s word into the street, sharing it with those who are close to us, those we meet casually and allowing God’s Grace to move our hearts as we share His joy and invite others to encounter God who loves them and is full of Mercy. This culture made joining my Philadelphia family with you an easy YES!

Q: Do you have an affinity for a patron saint or a motto that guides your work?

A: I do have an affinity for a patron saint and that is St. Therese of Lisieux. My husband and I have made a consecration to live the Little Way and lead all areas of our life with love. We have a saying “We share; love them where they are; love them until the end; whatever you do just love them.” As one of the youngest doctors of the church, she is inspiring in teaching us about humility and vulnerability of our own human weakness and accepting God’s Mercy. St. Therese shared that even though we may feel like little birds, we know with Grace we can fly like Eagles.

Q: Are you a Philadelphia sports fan?

A: Of course!!!! Fly Eagles Fly!… Coming home to Philadelphia brings back many fond memories including when I tried out for the Eagles Cheerleaders and the 76s Dance Team. I was blessed to make both teams but decided not to pursue it because of the educational workload associated with my undergraduate degree. My husband and I are Philadelphia sports fans through and through!

Q: Do you have any hobbies or talents that you would like to share?

A: I love to run and train regularly for half and full marathons. You learn a lot about yourself and have incredible conversations with God throughout 26.2 miles. A lot of my training is applicable in life and work as well. My husband and I also love to hike and go camping. We particularly enjoy hiking up large mountains and have met a Black Bear face to face; a story for another time! We started tent camping, upgraded to a gently used pop-up and now have a gently used pull behind. It’s a wonderful time for him and I to literally unplug and enjoy the beauty God has created. I would also be remiss if I did share that I’m an animal lover. We have five dogs, yes five, two cats and a green cheek conure. I also have played the piano, saxophone, and guitar on and off throughout the years. Our most precious hobby as husband and wife is to enjoy the vocation of our marriage through helping others.