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Bill Sahm: President of Bishop Chatard High School

Bill Sahm

Indianapolis businessman and former Catholic school teacher William Sahm has been appointed president of Bishop Chatard High School, effective July 1, 2007.

Sahm succeeds Brother Joseph Umile, C.S.C., who had served for 14 years.

"In addition to the essentials of a strong faith and commitment to family and education, Bill brings the gift of a collaborative style of leadership, a leadership that is what Bishop Chatard needs to continue its growth in mission," Brother Joe said. Sahm will serve as the CEO of the school and be responsible for all facets of its operations, with a focus on institutional advancement.

Sahm's appointment was the culmination of a nationwide year-long search process. Led by BCHS Board of Regents member Robert Klee, the search committee developed a 12-point leadership profile that included a strong Catholic identity; effective leadership, communication, outreach, and fundraising skills; and secondary education experience.

"Passion" and "experience" are characteristics that Klee said made Sahm stand out in an impressive candidate pool.

"Bill's passion for the Catholic faith and his passion for Bishop Chatard came through during our interviews," Klee explained.

"Bill's qualifications cover each and every criteria we outlined. He has demonstrated an ability to create a vision, then inspire and lead an organization to achieve key goals. His devotion to his Catholic faith, to the archdiocese, to Bishop Chatard, to his parish and to the city of Indianapolis is substantial. We believe that Bill will leverage these many experiences to lead Bishop Chatard to the next level of success."

After graduating from the University of Notre Dame in 1977, Sahm spent seven years teaching, coaching and serving as a coordinator of service and retreat programs at Roncalli High School, the Archdiocese of Indianapolis South Deanery high school. He leaves a position as senior vice president with Precedent Commercial Development to assume his new post.

During his 22 years in the Indianapolis business community, Sahm has served on the Marion County Building Authority board of trustees, including one year as president; been active with the Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce Infrastructure and Transportation committees; and previously served as the president of the Marion County Building Authority board of directors. He founded and served as chairperson and co-chairperson respectively of the Castleton Business Alliance and East 96th Street Business Alliance.

While his business experience helped him to hone many of the skills he will use as a high school president, it is his roots in Catholic education and the Catholic Youth Organization (CYO) that Sahm believes prepare him for the unique mission of leading Bishop Chatard.

"The archdiocese has a mission to evangelize, and the best resource that we have for that is the deanery high schools," Sahm explained. "The mission of the archdiocesan Catholic high schools - to evangelize young people and develop vocations - has become a mission for me."

The school, he said, will continue to work closely with pastors, principals and youth ministers from the North Deanery parishes to provide resources and opportunities for students' spiritual development. The relationship between the parishes and their deanery high school is one of the things he believes distinguishes Bishop Chatard.

"We are truly Catholic - we are owned by the archdiocese, get our direction from the archdiocese and are accountable to the archdiocese," Sahm said. "Bishop Chatard is a real community school," he added, "and like the community it serves, the school is socio-economically and racially diverse."

Sahm's appointment was made by the Archdiocese of Indianapolis Director of Catholic Education, Annette "Mickey" Lentz.

"Bill has a long and valued history with the archdiocese and brings many gifts and skills to the position," Lentz said. "Because Bill has been so involved for many years in Catholic education in the archdiocese, he understands the rich traditions upon which the school has been built."

"Perhaps the most important legacy that Brother Joe brought to the school was re-establishing the Catholic identity of Bishop Chatard," Klee added. "The Catholic mission of Bishop Chatard permeates every student, every faculty and staff member, every event. We expect Bill Sahm to sustain the strong Catholic identity of the school and to oversee overall fiscal operations, just as Brother Joe has done."

Over the years, Sahm has served as both president and a member of the BCHS Board of Regents; on project teams that have directed school renovations in 1996, 2001, and the current auxiliary gymnasium construction; and as chair of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis Celebrating Catholic School Values dinner. He and his wife are members of St. Pius X Parish and are active in committee work and ministries. Sahm's oldest child began high school at Bishop Chatard in 1993, the same year Brother Joe came to the school, and four Sahm children have graduated from the North Deanery school since that time.

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