Br. Donald Houde, CSV, served as the fourth principal of Saint Viator High School, but his seven years – 1972-1979 – were significant ones, when he led the school and its faculty in a seismic shift of the organizational structure and curriculum that would last the next 15 years.
Br. Houde ultimately was a Viatorian brother for 69 years, including spending 40 as an educator. He passed away Sept. 29. He was 91.
“Don was a very creative teacher,” says Fr. Thomas Long, CSV, “and he was widely respected for that.”
Br. Houde taught at the former Spalding Institute in Peoria for 10 years, before serving as principal of Alleman High School in Rock Island. He returned to Spalding in 1970 to serve as principal before being tapped to lead Saint Viator High School in 1972.
He came at a time when the Viatorian Community wanted to use Saint Viator as a model school, where new ideas and educational concepts could be implemented. Br. Houde traveled with a team of educators to the east coast before they created the “Schools with a School” model in which four programs were created based on individual learning styles.
The unique academic programs were designed to offer students a variety of opportunities for learning based on their learning styles, interdisciplinary studies, individualized options, and experience-based learning.
“It was a significant contribution to the future of Saint Viator,” says Fr. Robert M. Egan ’69 and a former president, “at a time when the curriculum needed to add an emerging educational trend.”
Br. Houde’s creative vision for education and how students learned led him to be named Director of Curriculum and Administrative Affairs with the Archdiocese of Chicago Office of Catholic Schools, from 1979-1998, where he worked closely with Dr. Elaine Schuster, Superintendent of Catholic schools, among others.
In retirement, Br. Houde volunteered at St. Josephat Parish in Chicago, before moving to the Viatorian Province Center in 2012.
Visitation for Br. Houde will take place at 10 a.m. Oct. 5 before an 11 a.m. Mass of Christian burial, both at the Viatorian Province Center, 1212 E. Euclid Ave. in Arlington Heights. Interment will be at Queen of Heaven Cemetery in Hillside. Those planning to attend must be vaccinated and wear a mask to protect the senior Viatorian residents.