History of ACES Xavier

ACES Xavier History

In the mid 1980's, discussions began concerning the practicality of maintaining seven parish elementary schools with decreasing enrollments and rising costs. Under the leadership of William O’Brien, then principal at Xavier High School, and with the commitment and cooperation of the eight Appleton pastors, a PreK to Grade 8 consolidated system was formed. The name chosen was Appleton Catholic Educational System, Inc. (ACES). The new configuration grew to include one Pre-School, four PreK to Grade 5 elementary schools and one Grade 6 to 8 middle school.

A governance model, including equal representation from all eight parishes was adopted. This board was charged with developing policies and procedures to ensure quality Catholic schools that were educationally and financially vibrant and viable. Application to, and acceptance by, the North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement validated that ACES was providing an educational program that met all the standards and requirements of membership in this prestigious professional association. Maintaining membership requires annual evaluative reports. To date, all requirements have been met and membership continues.

In 2000, the middle school was relocated to the former Fox Valley Lutheran High School. This renovated facility provided for extensive growth in enrollment, curriculum offerings, and co-curricular activities. Funding was provided by Campaign 2000 and a generous anonymous donor.

Once the PreK to Grade 8 (ACES) was operating efficiently and effectively, it was only natural to ask about expansion of the system to include Grades 9 to 12 at Xavier High School. Since both ACES and Xavier share common owners and overlapping constituencies, constituting a PreK to Grade 12 system seemed a natural development. A Corporate Committee composed of representatives of the pastors and Boards of Education of both systems, was formed to determine how best to address the common issues and concerns of the two systems. Since Xavier High School is a regional school, supported by other parishes, adjustments and adaptations were made to accommodate this unique situation.

After serious and open exchanges, it was decided to hire a consultant who could facilitate arriving at a consensus. Bob Shea was engaged to assist the Corporate Committee in determining that the presidential model used in many Catholic schools would be adopted. A national search and interviews were conducted and resulted in the hiring of Sister Patrice Hughes, SC., an educator with experience at the parish, diocesan and national levels.

Articles of incorporation, a constitution and by-laws were drafted and approved in May 2001. The owners of the new corporation entitled ACES Xavier Educational System, Inc., are the Catholic parishes of Appleton. The affairs are managed by the Board of Directors. Each Director holds such position by virtue of his office, namely the Bishop of Green Bay, the Vicar General, the Director of Total Catholic Education, the pastor of an Appleton parish and the chairperson of the Board of Trustees. The operation of the ACES Xavier Educational System, Inc., was delegated to a Board of Trustees that consists of not more than seventeen (17) qualified persons who are elected by the Board of Directors. Parents of enrolled students are eligible to serve as a trustee provided that at no time shall they constitute more than 30% of the Board of Trustees. The President, who is employed by the Board of Trustees, is the chief operating officer. The ACES Xavier Educational System, Inc. began to function officially in August 2001 when the Board of Trustees and the President were installed by Bishop Robert Banks, D.D.

In May of 2004, a major System-wide capital campaign was launched in order to provide the funds necessary to renovate Xavier High School, remodel the auditorium and fine arts area of St. Joseph Middle School, and increase the System’s endowment fund. On July 19, 2004, Joseph A. Bound, Ph.D. assumed the duties of President. He came to ACES Xavier Educational System, Inc. with eighteen years of experience in Catholic education having taught on the elementary, middle, secondary, and college levels and having been a business manager, principal and assistant superintendent in various Catholic school systems. In addition, Dr. Bound had worked in the paper and banking industry and had experience working for an international non-profit organization.

On February 1, 2006, Dr. Bound was named by Bishop Zubik to the position of Director of Education for the Diocese of Green Bay. Tony Abts, who served as principal at St. Joseph Middle School for 17 years, from 1989 to 2006, was named to the position of President of the ACES Xavier Educational System. Mr. Abts comes to the position having taught for six years at St. John School in Little Chute and serving for 4 years as principal at Holy Name School in Kimberly before coming to ACES in 1989. Mr. Abts has been involved with Catholic education on the system and Diocesan level, serving as President of the Diocesan Association of School Administrators, a member of the Schools Advisory Committee and a member of the Diocesan Curriculum Committee, earning him recognition as an “Administrator of Distinction” from the Wisconsin Council of Religious and Independent Schools in 2005.

ACES Xavier is currently serving 869 students in grades PreK to 5 at 4 elementary campuses, 380 students in grades 6-8 at St. Joseph Middle School, and 515 high school students at Xavier High School. The system also provides extended care and before and after care programs at the elementary campuses.

Revenues for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2008 were over $12 million. ACES Xavier employs over 230 instructional and non-instructional employees. It has net assets of approximately $20 million. ACES Xavier Educational System, Inc. has a June 30th fiscal year-end, with a requirement to submit an audited financial statement to the Catholic Diocese of Green Bay annually.