School Advisory Council Governance

The SAC operates according to a set of Bylaws approved by the Diocese of San Jose. In terms of structure, the SAC consists of nine voting members, two teachers, and four ex-officio members who advise the school’s administration and facilitate the activities for approximately 25 volunteer driven committees.

The SAC serves as the primary advisory body to the principal and pastor, representing the parents whose children are enrolled in our school, and it also provides strategic leadership for many of the school’s volunteer-based committees.

Support Groups Organization

The volunteer committees are organized into five separate Support Groups, each with their own common cause or charter. Please click on the diagram to see the full-screen image in a separate window.

Support Groups Structure

To facilitate communication between the committees and the SAC, each Support Group has an assigned Sponsor that serves on the SAC and coordinates communication between the SAC and the committee chairpersons.

Annual Discernment Process

The selection model for new SAC Members is a discernment process rather than an election. This process was developed by Father Gary Thomas more than ten years ago while he was pastor of St. Nicholas in Los Altos, and it is used by our Sacred Heart Parish Council as well. In fact, this is now the recommended model within the San Jose Diocese, which is based upon prayer and the spirituality of being called to serve. Discernment is thinking, considering, and deciding through prayer and faith toward the direction and decisions that we make in our lives.

To briefly summarize, the steps in the discernment process are as follows:

  1. The SAC chair person identifies a member of the SAC to establish the discernment committee, which then oversees the process.
  2. The nomination phase by the school community takes place over a period of several weeks during the Lenten season. School parents can nominate either themselves or any other qualified school parent.
  3. All nominees must be committed to their faith through Sacred Heart Church or another local Catholic parish thereby supporting our school's mission and philosophy. Each nominated parent will be contacted by the discernment committee chair to determine their interest level and availability to serve.
  4. All nominees who express an interest are invited to a discernment meeting during which time the principal and pastor express their vision of the role of the SAC. The chair of the SAC discusses their experience of the SAC, and the discernment committee facilitator, Sister Rosheen Glennon C.S.J. explains the steps of the process in more detail.
  5. At the end of the meeting, the group experiences a liturgy of prayer and all nominees are asked to decide if they wish to be interviewed by the discernment committee. The discernment committee consists of five (5) members: one current school parent, one current SAC member, one former school parent whose last child has graduated within the prior three years, one former SAC member and one faculty member.
  6. Those nominees willing to go forward then make an appointment with the discernment committee and are interviewed during the following week. The facilitator contacts the Principal once the committee has made its decision as to who has been chosen to assume a place on the SAC. The principal then personally contacts every participant within 24 hours to inform the candidates of the decision and thank everyone for choosing to go through the process.
  7. The newly discerned members attend the remaining meetings of the fiscal year during May and June as a transition period for those who are both new and whose terms have ended.

Father Gary has used this model for many years, which provides a prayerful annual process that increases transparency, ensures integrity, and better serves our school community. Neither the Pastor nor the Principal have any influence on the discernment process, and the discernment committee acts independently of any and all other groups or individuals.

The SAC Discernment process begins in March each year and continues through the beginning of May. We hope that everyone will prayerfully consider a calling to serve on this body, which supports the Principal and Pastor by providing advice and direction toward the vision and mission of the school.