The Office of the Superintendent of the Archdiocesan Catholic Schools of Cebu System traces its earliest beginnings to the appointment of Msgr. Frederick B. Kriekenbeek, HP as Superintendent of Catholic Schools in the Archdiocese of Cebu on 01 June 1965 by His Eminence the Lord Cardinal Julio R. Rosales. Since his canonical mandate was not accompanied by competent human resources, specific programs and coordinated structures, Msgr. Kriekenbeek took the initiative of focusing his personal giftedness and pastoral ingenuity on providing basic catechism to the learners in the public school system. He was convinced that religion classes animated in private learning institutions run by religious men and women already sufficed for the spiritual formation of pupils and students. For his educational ministry updating, he attended gatherings organized by the Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines. He obediently discharged his duties until the 15th of September 1983.
On 16 September 1983, Fr. Gregorio Y. Cabatingan was appointed by His Eminence Ricardo J. Cardinal Vidal as Superintendent of Catholic Schools in the Archdiocese of Cebu. He made use of his experiences as a former member of the Societas Verbi Divini in making sure that authentic Christian education and teaching are implemented, always adhering to the Magisterium of the Church, taking into consideration the provisions of the Code of Canon Law, the pastoral directives of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines and the archdiocesan consuetude. He served the Archdiocese of Cebu in such a capacity until the 14th of August 1998.
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Sr. Felisa D. Declaro, RVM succeeded Fr. Cabatingan on 15 August 1998. Banking on the special pedagogical charism of the Congregation of the Religious of the Virgin Mary, she passionately endeavored to make the presence of the educational apostolate of the Archdiocese of Cebu tangibly felt through the functional Office of the Superintendent of Catholic Schools in the Archdiocese of Cebu located in Cardinal Rosales Pastoral Center, Patria de Cebu Building, Corner P. Burgos and P. Gomez Streets, Cebu City. She enhanced the dealings of the said pastoral office with her nurturing femininity and the witness of her religious life. She actively performed her responsibilities until the 31st of August 2001.
On 01 September 2001, Fr. Eduardo O. Ventic, PhD took the helm of governance of the Office of the Superintendent of Catholic Schools in the Archdiocese of Cebu. Under his watch, the following schools were turned over by various religious congregations to the Archdiocese of Cebu: St. Joseph’s Academy, Mandaue City (run by the Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary until 2003); San Isidro Parish School, Talamban, Cebu City (run by the Daughters of St. Teresa until 2007); Saint Michael School, Argao (run by the Congregacion de las Hijas de Jesus until 2010); Siena School of Naga, City of Naga (run by the Dominican Sisters of Saint Catherine of Siena until 2011); and Our Lady Academy, Ronda (run by the Augustinian Recollect Sisters until 2011). He also co-founded St. Joseph’s Academy, Carmen, Cebu, Inc. with Cardinal Vidal in 2008.
Fr. Ventic also laid down the foundations of the eventual membership of St. Joseph’s Academy of Mandaue, Inc. in the Philippine Accrediting Association of Schools, Colleges and Universities. He facilitated the appointment of qualified and competent members of the Cebu Clergy as school administrators in various capacities. He enthusiastically worked closely with the CEAP Superintendents’ Commission, CEAP VII Regional Council, Fund Assistance for Private Education, Department of Labor & Employment and Lions Club International, among others, in the performance of his duties and responsibilities until the end of his term on 31 March 2014.
On 01 April 2014, Fr. Jesper John R. Petralba, EdD, DM, PhD, DPA became the successor of Fr. Ventic with a specific mandate. He was appointed by His Grace Archbishop Jose S. Palma, SThD, DD as Superintendent of the Archdiocesan Catholic Schools of Cebu to oversee the management of schools which by law are instrumentalities of the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Cebu. With the help of the ACSCS Assistant Superintendent, Fr. Joseph C. Yntig, MAPM, and the Executive Secretary of the Office of the ACSCS Superintendent, Fr. Mariano Dioscoro E. Cuarto, MASL, he wasted no time in establishing the Archdiocesan Catholic Schools of Cebu System with the support of Priest-Administrators running the six archdiocesan schools. He systematized the administrative and supervisory functions of the Office of the ACSCS Superintendent. As a corollary, unity of vision-mission and uniformity of policies, practices and procedures were pursued through the publication of the ACSCS Administrative, Faculty & Staff Manual and the Manual of Academic Life for Pupils & Students while prudently providing a creative allowance for contextualized adaptations. The utilization of the Official ACSCS Personnel and Learner Uniforms was also launched. He set into motion regular plenary meetings, collaborative leadership through the creation of Permanent Committees on Procurement & Insurance, on Professional Development and on Programs & Special Events and sharing of resources and expertise with a refereed six-year integrated development plan as matrix. Relevant and responsive Superintendent’s Instructions were issued as the need arose for the proper guidance of ACSCS Basic Ecclesial Communities.
In 2015 the Unified Procurement of Instructional Materials Scheme and the Solidarity Fund of the Office of the ACSCS Superintendent were institutionalized with the plight of struggling archdiocesan schools in mind. Santa Ana Parochial School of Barili, Cebu, Inc. was officially integrated into the Archdiocesan Catholic Schools of Cebu System. The following year, Saint Michael Parish Montessori Learning Center L’Ecole du Coeur, Inc., Argao, Cebu also became part of the ACSCS. In 2017, St. Martin de Porres Academy, Daanbantayan, Cebu was turned over by the Daughters of Charity to the Archdiocese of Cebu. In the face of these developments, Fr. Petralba facilitated the appointment of additional ordained and consecrated educational leaders. He also gave his all-out support to the personal growth and professional development of all Priest-Administrators under his care as they pursued their respective master’s and doctoral degrees as well as their statutory government licenses. Annual local and international learning tours and updating conferences for ACSCS educational leaders were made possible through strategic networks and linkages.
The year 2018 saw the animation of the concerted efforts to reinforce the branding of the archdiocesan educational apostolate. All ACSCS Member-Institutions got their new corporate names: Academia de San Jose, Academia de San Isidro Labrador, Academia de San Miguel Arcangel, Academia de San Pedro Calungsod, Academia de Nuestra Señora, Academia de San Agustin, Academia de Santa Ana y San Joaquin, Academia de San Lorenzo Ruiz and Academia de San Martin. In June of the same year, the Official ACSCS Website became operational with the technical assistance of Mr. Mark G. Tabasa and Mr. Ike Paul C. Mantalaba of Academia de San Jose, Mandaue City.
In 2019, the endeavor to secure the legal identity of the fellowship of nine archdiocesan schools gained momentum with the help of Sr. Ma. Eulalia B. Casane, LGC and Mme. Leslie U. Budaño of Academia de San Isidro Labrador, Cebu City. The Certificate of Incorporation was consequently issued on 17 January 2020 by the Securities and Exchange Commission-Cebu Extension Office. On 5 August 2019, the enhanced Pastoral Support Standardization and Rationalization Framework for ACSCS Directors, Principals, Treasurers, Director-Principals, Principal-Treasurers and Priest-Administrators with archdiocesan offices was approved by the Office of the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Cebu. The quiet competence with which Fr. Petralba discharged the functions of the ACSCS Superintendency culminated on 20 June 2019 with a grateful sigh: “We are ordinary servants; we have only done our duty” (Luke 17:10).
On 21 June 2019, Fr. Joel P. Oriesga, PhD, DevEdD was appointed as the Sixth Superintendent of the Archdiocesan Catholic Schools of Cebu System. One of his first strategic acts was the creation of a Permanent Committee on Accreditation and Recertification. The Office of the ACSCS Superintendent continues to apply itself to the pursuit of the empowerment of twenty-first century learners under the tutelage of its member-institutions as it envisions a relevant and responsive archdiocesan educational system by 2021 and beyond.