(COVINGTON, La) — In 1978, Bro. Ray Builliard, FSC, entered the grounds of St. Paul’s school to assume a position in the Guidance Department under the administration of former Principal Bro. Jeffery Calligan, FSC.
When Bro. Jeff was called to Rome in the middle of the 1986-1987 school year, Bro. Ray was chosen to be his successor, and has been at the helm ever since.
Bro. Ray’s position was changed once again in the 2014-2015 school year. In order to follow the new Lasallian guidelines for administration, he became the school’s president, and former Vice Principal Trevor Watkins was promoted Principal.
With Bro. Ray’s 30th anniversary of leadership looming, he has taken time to reflect on the presidential position through a personal viewpoint.
“I have learned not to take myself too seriously, to hire good people, and to get out of the way,” Bro. Ray said. “I’ve also learned that it is God’s work, not mine.”
The presidential position can be strenuous, but it has not affected Bro. Ray’s spirits.
“It has tried my faith many times,” said Bro. Ray. “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”
The responsibilities of his position are almost always more rewarding than they are stressful, especially after Bro. Ray sees the results of his work.
“I think if they were (more stressful), I would not have lasted this long,” Bro. Ray said. “The rewards far outnumber the stress. Though in the heat of the moment, I sometimes lose sight (of the task at hand), but I quickly regain perspective. Seeing you guys 99.9% of the time doing exactly what God wants you to do is what recharges my batteries.”
Even with Bro. Ray dividing his time between both the Administration Department and teaching English I Honors, his students are not usually intimidated by the power he holds.
“I’m sure that there is the occasional student who feels intimidated,” Bro. Ray said, “but for the most part, I hope (my students) look at me as an English I teacher, and not as the president of the school when in the classroom.”
With all of the planning and focus required for teaching and administrating, Bro. Ray is able to divide his time equally, with some time to spare if necessary.
“I carve out time when I feel the need,” Bro. Ray said. “Fortunately, I do not feel the need that terribly often. Certainly, my presidential responsibilities come first, and the day that my English teaching interferes with my presidential responsibilities, I will have to make the choice of whether to continue as president or go back to full-time English teaching.”
In the 30-year window of Bro. Ray’s leadership, many legacy students have either arrived or have already graduated from SPS.
“It is especially rewarding when I have the son of a former student; that is very special,” Bro. Ray said. “The same applies when an alumnus wants to come back and teach. I am thrilled that we have so many alums as teachers, because we don’t have to teach them what SPS is all about. They already hit the ground knowing what we expect, and what we value and treasure, and they want to be part of it again.”
As both a leader and a follower, as a teacher and brother, Bro. Ray has to switch to being more of a boss at times.
“Let’s face it: faculty members are human, and sometimes things don’t go the way they’re supposed to go,” Bro. Ray said, “and I need to become the boss to make sure things are corrected, and that’s never easy, just like how it is never easy for me to correct a student. I try not to let it damage the relationship, and I try to make sure that they see why I’m doing it, and most of the time, it works out successfully.”
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Wish to know more about the personal life of Brother Ray? Check out the interview conducted by the Geurilla Wolves News program in 2015.