If you asked him, Tom Lilly would tell you that he got his start with the Catholic school system over 30 years ago, even though Lilly has only officially been on the job as president just under two months.
Prior to working for Old National Bank in the Wealth Management Division as a client advisor and trust officer, Lilly spent fifteen years with the Catholic Diocese as the Executive Director of the Catholic Foundation of Western Kentucky and the Diocese Coordinator of Staff and ten years as a senior executive at St. Mary’s Medical Center.
When asked if it was difficult to make the transition from Old National Bank to the Catholic school system, Lilly laughed and said Old National was, “the only job I ever had that didn’t have a chapel in it.”
While Lilly says he really enjoyed banking, and most likely could have finished his career in that vocation, he also says, “I’m a lot more passionate about children and families trying to raise children.”
He feels so passionate, in fact, that he moved his office from one side of the building to the other in order to be closer to students and more accessible to parents. His office is now located inside the Scrip office so that he can interact with students and parents that come in each day.
For those that think Lilly might be better suited for finance than education, he says his biggest strengths are his familiarity with the Catholic school system and his developmental background and business knowledge. He feels this knowledge base will benefit the school and the 40% of parents who are receiving financial assistance each year, not to mention, the “significant economy involved to be a private school.”
With $5.5 million coming in through Scrip each year, a fundraising program where discounted gift cards are purchased to help offset the out-of-pocket tuition costs for families, and $8.5 million in contributions and tuition, Lilly feels confident that his business and non-profit knowledge can only be an asset.
Superintendent of Catholic Schools, Ann Flaherty agrees, “We think he brings the right skill sets to this position…Tom is a known quantity who served this system in various volunteer and professional capacities for many years. He’s also served a broad range of not-for-profit organizations throughout the country. We think he will be a passionate, effective leader for the organization.”
Lilly says he feels, “a burden of responsibility” as president. “The principals, teachers and parents are just as passionate, which helps to relieve that burden…This position acts as a facilitator and a resource for teachers. The big differences are made by the teachers.”
As for the 2018 school year, he cannot wait. Lilly is looking forward to taking a hands-on approach by spending time in each classroom and being engaged. He says, “I do it to be educated, but I also do it to be inspired and motivated.”