Kate Dailey's Bishop Dunne story is really quite amazing. Arriving at a school that was just about to close its doors, Mrs. Dailey orchestrated a remarkable turnaround. Against all odds, in a middle-class school with no parish, no uber wealthy benefactors, not much diocese funding support, and, really, not an overwhelming population of Catholics, Mrs. Dailey found a way to serve the families of the community by providing high academic standards while also spreading the Catholic message to every student that they had the opportunity to go to college and heaven.
Under Mrs. Dailey's direction, Bishop Kevin Ferrell remarked, "There's a spirit here (at Bishop Dunne) that quite frankly I sometimes don't find in other schools."
Kate Dailey is the driver of that spirit and why so many people from my neighborhood, who often go north for their educational needs, chose to go south. We believe in a racially, economically, and politically diverse and open-minded educational experience based in faith. Due to Mrs. Dailey's tireless commitment to students, families, faith, and academic success, Dunne has become quite a unique community that is making a difference in the lives of all involved. Whether one is a student, parent, grandparent, teacher, staff member, coach, administrator, alumni, fan, neighbor, organization, non-profit, or even a dog (yes, our family adopted a Dunne rescue dog named Kessler), Dunne is making a difference beyond the school walls. Mrs. Dailey's mentality, commitment, and passion of and for Christian service, compassion, respect, self-worth, and success—seemingly so effortlessly instilled in each student—actually was not so effortless.
1977 Bishop Dunne graduate David Small shared this with the Dallas Morning News, "Kate Dailey has breathed new life into this school and this community— not just the Catholic community, but in Oak Cliff." Small continued, "She is my inspiration."
Often on bended knee, Mrs. Dailey would fervently appeal to the diocese for more financial support. While other Catholic schools were rolling in money, adding new buildings and additions; our principal, and later president, was steadfastly writing grants, piecemealing funds together for renovations, science labs, computer labs, air conditioning, plumbing, multipurpose facilities, auditorium, track, future gym, and so much more. None of it came easily, yet all of it was so appreciated.
Bishop Dunne, under the guidance and influence of President Kate Dailey, elicited this quote from Bishop Kevin Farrell, seventh Bishop of Dallas, and, now, appointed to the Vatican, by the Pope, as Head of Laity, Family and Life, "Bishop Dunne is the best high school in the Diocese of Dallas."
With an announced 2019 retirement, Mrs. Dailey's exit was uncharacteristically abrupt. I hope the school and the diocese will take the time to honor this very special leader who served the Catholic Church for over 30 years, had a powerful impact on thousands of students, and left very big shoes to fill. Faculty, staff, students, alumni, and parents need the opportunity to bid farewell and share well wishes.
With the deepest prayers and support for the person who I entrusted my children's education for the past 12 years, I send my best.