As Karen Gostomski approaches her 90th day at St. Michael Catholic School in Remus, the first-year principal reflects on what led to this point in her career and looks forward to the exciting challenges ahead.
Before coming to St. Michael, Karen worked in the public school system for more than 30 years. She held different childcare leadership positions at Vestaburg Elementary School and Montcalm Area Intermediate School District, coached and evaluated 6 preschools in Greenville, and served as a literacy trainer for the state of Michigan. This wealth of experience brought her to Mt. Pleasant for her first role in a Catholic school.
Karen is no stranger to educational leadership, but the Catholic faith is still somewhat new to her. For three years, she taught preschool at Sacred Heart Academy in Mt. Pleasant. Not yet Catholic, Karen sought to clearly understand the mission of the school she served and the content she was responsible for teaching. To garner a tighter grasp on the teachings of the Catholic faith, Karen enrolled in an RCIA class. What first started as a professional development opportunity soon bloomed into a sincere curiosity about the faith and a growing love for the Church. On Easter Sunday 2021, Karen was welcomed into the Catholic Church.
Fueled by the experience of her recent conversion, Karen feels called to serve a school made up of many non-Catholic families. Amidst the Eucharistic Revival, she endeavors to help St. Michael illuminate the beauty of the faith for students and their families. To an outsider, the Mass can appear very “rehearsed and ritualistic” she said. “But as we seek to grow deeper with the Eucharist, we see the whole point.” Karen still thinks about an inspiring moment after the school’s All Saints’ Day Mass in which a group of students rejoiced in understanding that the saints are present with us during the heavenly liturgy. Daily examinations of the lives of the saints help students to better understand why we venerate the holy men and women of history. To extend faith formation beyond just the students, St. Michael has begun sharing pamphlets with families to help them better understand the Mass and the importance of Catholic worship. This is part of the school’s mission to invest not only in the spiritual well-being of its students but of the community of Remus more broadly.
“These first 90 days have inspired me more than ever to know that I was brought here for a reason and each and every day I have to keep pushing forward on that mission. I can feel it.” Karen’s excitement about serving the small community of Remus emanates from her leadership and she looks forward to building a culture bound together by the love of Christ. “I have been challenged…to grow St. Michael’s. That opens up so many possibilities. Not only will we be bringing [students] into Catholic education, but we will be winning souls for Christ.”
Please join us in praying for Karen as she begins her leadership journey and strives to share her conversion story with the students and families at St. Michael Catholic School. We look forward to seeing what God has in store for Karen and her educational ministry.