St. Francis Xavier School benefits from the guidance and supervision of its Pastor, Father Wayne Watts, and its Principal, Colleen Barrett Halaburt. The Schools of Saints JFX are led by the Pastor or Principal, with a focus on Early Childhood Education (Preschool + Kindergarten) at St. Joseph School and K-8 at St. Francis Xavier School (Kindergarten + Elementary and Middle School).
FR. WAYNE F. WATTS, PASTOR
Father Wayne F. Watts has been a priest of the Archdiocese of Chicago since 1990. He is the sixth of nine children and hails from Oak Park and River Forest. A product of 21 years of Catholic education, and a member of Fenwick’s class of 1982, Father Watts graduated from Marquette University and then attended Mundelein Seminary. From 1990-1996, he served as Associate Pastor at Saint Francis Xavier in Wilmette. Since 1995, he has been leading youth and adult service pilgrimages to Lourdes, France.
From 1996-2002, Father Watts served as a member of Archbishop Quigley Preparatory Seminary’s faculty. As Vice President of Institutional Advancement and member of the religion and formation faculty for six years, Father Watts convened a group of professionals in the marketing, communications, and advertising world to create a PR campaign for the priesthood. The campaign won national and international awards.
Since July, 2002, Father Watts has been the Associate Administrator of Catholic Charities. At Charities, Father Watts helps to lead the initiative of the Junior Board, involving people in their 20’s, 30’s and early 40’s in the work of Catholic Charities. He also works with the communications and parish outreach committees of Catholic Charities, hoping to make more and more people aware of the services Charities provides and to invite many to join the mission of Catholic Charities. In addition, he assists the development staff as it seeks major gifts and underwriting to help finance the important mission of charity.
In January, 2006, Francis Cardinal George assigned Father Watts to the pastorate of Saint John Berchmans Church in Chicago’s Logan Square neighborhood. There he implemented many initiatives to strengthen parish membership and participation as well as increase enrollment at St. John Berchmans School. Father Watts serves on the Board of Trustees of La Lumiere High School in La Porte Indiana, and Josephinum Academy. He has led parish missions, presented at the Archdiocese of Chicago’s Parish Leadership Day and for the Office of Catholic School’s leadership program.
Our newly combined Saints Joseph and Francis Xavier Parish is grateful to welcome Father Watts back to Wilmette, where he assumed leadership duties as Pastor in 2019.
COLLEEN BARRETT HALABURT, PRINCIPAL
The Schools of Saints JFX welcomed Colleen Barrett Halaburt as Principal of St. Francis Xavier School in 2013. Mrs. Barrett Halaburt spent eight years with SFX as a member of the faculty, including two as its Assistant Principal, before assuming her current role as Principal, currently of both St. Francis Xavier and St. Joseph Schools. She was instrumental in inspiring, guiding and managing the growth of the school’s enrollment in recent years.
Mrs. Barrett Halaburt is uniquely positioned to uphold the strong values and academic rigor of the school due to her intimate understanding of its structure and culture. She draws upon her experience as a beloved teacher as well as her extensive academic background; Mrs. Barrett Halaburt holds advanced degrees in Education, Reading and School Leadership. She has made significant contributions to the current Archdiocesan curriculum and played a primary role in the school’s recognition as a National Blue Ribbon School in 2012 and 2018. Mrs. Barrett Halaburt is also part of a select group of educators to have successfully completed the Archdiocese of Chicago’s prestigious Leadership Academy and the University of Notre Dame’s Leadership Institute.
CHRISTINE ELLIOTT, DIRECTOR OF MIDDLE SCHOOL
Ms. Christine Elliott is the Director of Middle School for St. Francis Xavier. Over the past several years, Ms. Elliott has been instrumental in the refinement and focusing of curriculum, particularly in the area of Humanities and Grammar Convention. Her keen understanding of pre-adolescent students preparing for the rigors of high school informs how she leads, teaches and motivates students to realize their full potential and to develop their many gifts. Ms. Elliott holds an advanced degree in Elementary Education and draws upon many years of expertise as a teacher and administrator; most recently as Head of Middle School at the Schools of the Sacred Heart in Chicago. She is also a member of the Board of Trustees at Woodlands Academy in Lake Forest, IL.
The Home School Organization, or HSO, was created as a joint effort between parents and staff to provide students the best physical, mental, social and spiritual education possible. As such, all school parents are eligible to become members. The HSO is challenged to provide a significant source of fundraising throughout the school year, helping to underwrite school operations, programming, activities and teacher bonuses. The HSO also makes tremendous contributions to our sense of community and enrichment.
2020-2021 HSO Leadership
Catherine Barton, Jo Anne Tagliamonte
Erin Brown, Andrea Schaeffer
THE SCHOOL BOARD
The School Board serves as an advisory body to both the Pastor and the Principal, primarily in matters of finance, enrollment and strategic planning. The board is made up of both school parents and parishioners and members serve a three year term, rotating areas of responsibility based on interest and experience.
2020-2021 SFX School Board
Mike Henn, Vice President
Tim Horton, President
Chantal Petherbridge, Secretary