She spent seven and a half years as principal at Earlington/Madisonville, finished her master’s in elementary education along the way and began work on her master’s in administration. While there she helped plan the construction of a new school at Christ the King in Madisonville and saw the student enrollment increase from 70 at Earlington to 224 at Christ the King.
Sister Amelia moved on to Saint Joseph Interparochial School in Bowling Green where she served as principal and eighth grade religion teacher for two years and continued work on her administrative master’s. Those two years proved to be her last in the regular classroom.
She was asked by Bishop McRaith to return to Owensboro and became associate superintendent of schools for the diocese of Owensboro. Father Henry O’Bryan, her old friend from her first teaching job at Precious Blood, was still superintendent and served as her mentor. In September of the following year she replaced Father O’Bryan and became the first woman superintendent for the diocese, a position she held for seven years.
One of her first responsibilities as superintendent was to begin a search for retirement and insurance programs for the paid employees of the diocese who were mostly teachers. She found the Christian Brothers Retirement Services and the Insurance program. Today, the retirement program continues to serve the diocesan employees and she serves on the Board of Directors of CBRS.
During her tenure as superintendent, Sister Amelia worked with the parishes to consolidate the Catholic schools in the Owensboro area, helped to organize the Committee for Total Catholic Education, served as chairperson of the Mid-South Catholic Leadership Conference, helped create the Kentucky Non-Public School Commission, which she chaired for 10 years, served on the executive board of CACE (Chief Administrators of Catholic Education), served on the Kentucky Board of Accreditation of Universities and Colleges, gave talks on principalship and leadership to numerous diocesan and principal groups, and wrote a book (Principalship: An Outline for Action).
Bishop McRaith was bishop of the diocese during Sister Amelia’s tenure as superintendent of schools and has worked with her often since then. “ In my years of working with Sister Amelia, I have found her to be a committed religious sister, hard-working, very creative and gifted with many talents,” he says. “She is willing to work tirelessly to accomplish the mission of Jesus, whether for her community or the entire Church.”
After seven and a half years in the office of superintendent of schools for the diocese of Owensboro, Sister Amelia headed east for still another challenge. She accepted the position of superintendent of elementary schools for the Archdiocese of Louisville. Again, she was the first woman to hold this position.
The Louisville archdiocese was beginning a major development program in preparation for a campaign to build an endowment for Catholic schools. Sister Amelia was asked to work with the schools to develop communications programs with their parents and alumni and eventually go through a process of long-range planning in the schools. The process included all areas of the curriculum, finances, board responsibilities, and a long-range planning process.
“For seven years everything we did centered around improving the schools, helping them get accredited and preparing for the major campaign,” Sister Amelia said.
In 1996-1997, the archdiocesan campaign took place, resulting in a $20 million endowment for the Catholic schools.
In May of 1997 Sister Amelia learned her ministry was about to take on still another major challenge. Sister Michele Morek, then a member of the Leadership council, paid her a visit and asked if she would return to Mount Saint Joseph as director of the conference and retreat center and raise money needed to complete the major renovation of the new center complex.