Having served 55 years in Catholic Education, Brother William Carriere compiled a lengthy list of notable achievements.
Before retiring in 2016, Carriere, 79, served 12 years as the superintendent of schools for the Diocese of Orange and five as associate superintendent.
Brother Carriere, who in March celebrated 60 years as a Christian Brother, also spent 17 years teaching in the Institute of Catholic Educational Leadership at the University of San Francisco.
Since professing his vows six decades ago, Brother Carriere has worked as an educator in nine states, serving in the highest levels of administration.
But aside from the titles and responsibilities, Brother Carriere always made it a point to re-connect with students, because it was the students that drew the brother towards career in Catholic education in the first place.
“The greatest thing for me visiting classrooms and getting to talk to kids,” Brother Carriere said. “That was very important to me. You could find out by talking to kids what was happening.”
Brother Carriere belongs to the order of the Institute of the brothers of the Christian Schools, also known as Christian Brothers and the De La Salle Brothers, named for St. John Baptist De La Salle, who founded the order in 1680 in Rheims, France, De La Salle, the patron saint of teachers, founded the order for the purpose of educating poor boys who were not attending school. He trained young men to be teachers, but along with instructing them on proper teaching methods, he believed the men should be taught in the vernacular instead of Latin, Brother Carriere said.
YOUNG BROTHER BROTHER RAFAEL RODRIGUEZ (LEFT) SMILES, WHILE CHRIS PATINO (MASKED) TAKES A SELFIE PHOTO. THEY ARE BOTH TEACHERS AT CATHEDRAL HIGH SCHOOL IN LOS ANGELES. BEHIND THEM IS BROTHER BR. JOHN MONTGOMERY, PRINCIPAL OF CATHEDRAL HIGH SCHOOL, AND BROTHER WILLIAM CARRIERE WAVES. PHOTO COURTESY OF BROTHER WILLIAM CARRIERE
“Religious brothers are non-ordained lay men who, in many ways are counterparts to religious sisters, Brother Carriere said. “St. John Baptist did not want us involved in sacramental ministries. Exclusively schools.”
While not ordained as priests, Brothers profess vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience, live in communities are engaged in ministries mostly within the Roman Catholic Church.
The order has grown exponentially over the years establishing schools and learning institutions in 80 countries.
Today, close to 3,000 brothers are part of the educational ministry, Carriere said.
Brother Carriere, is one of six Brothers serving in Diocese of Orange.
Each year on May 1, Religious Brothers Day is celebrated. The day provides an opportunity to express gratitude for the contributions of Religious Brothers while inviting young men to consider God’s calling to become Christian educators.
The words of De La Salle on the De La Salle Brothers website read: “To touch the hearts of your students and inspire them with the Christian Spirit is the greatest miracle you can perform.”
Brother Carriere was a teacher and administrator in Catholic schools in Iowa, Ohio, New Jersey, Arizona before arriving in California in 1974, where his first position was Dean of Boys at Justin-Siena High School in Napa.
Two years later Brother Carriere made his way to Southern California, where he was appointed Director of the Brothers Community and Dean of Students at La Salle High School in Pasadena.
In 1986, about 10 years after the formation of the Diocese of Orange, Brother Carrier accepted a position as Associate Superintendent of Catholic schools in the Diocese.
Not having much experience with elementary education, Brother Carriere’s first job was to visit elementary schools around the Diocese
“Which was kind of fun because I didn’t know that much about elementary schools,” he said. “The preschoolers and the kindergartners were the best kids to talk to. They would tell you what they saw whether you wanted to hear it or not. I loved that.”
He was especially impressed with one kindergarten teacher who seemed to have a gift of connecting with young minds.
“I got so enthralled with what I was watching,” Brother Carriere said. “Because my whole thing was learning how we spark these little heads. I was fascinated with how we get these little kids thinking and how we begin to teach them how to reason and draw conclusions from facts. That year was really good for me.”
After becoming superintendent, Brother Carrier oversaw the construction of three new schools in the district. He played key role in the construction of Santa Margarita High School, providing input on the actual construction, drafting the curriculum and hiring teachers.
“As a teacher, he was very compassionate and focused on the students,” said Brother Michael Avila, Brother Carrier’s longtime friend. “He was very capable in all those schools he had in his jurisdiction.”
Brother Carriere stepped down as superintendent in 2003 and spent a year traveling through Europe.
When he returned, Carriere was asked by Elementary Superintendent of Catholic Schools in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles to help establish school advisory councils in the Catholic elementary parish schools.
Brother Carriere then became the founding Executive Director of the Western Catholic Educational Association (WCEA), an accreditation agency for Catholic schools which had been established by the Catholic School Superintendents.
He worked with the WCEA for 11 years, helping with the accreditation of 900 Catholic schools in 11 Western states.
Brother Carriere is officially retired, but is definitely not sitting still and is never far from the Church. He serves on the Advisory Council for the Center for Spiritual Development for the Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange.
As an organist and pianist, Carriere occasionally plays at Masses and special events in the Diocese.
He is also in the middle of authoring a book about 55 years in Catholic education.
“I am making plans to do some travel to other countries where we Christian Brothers have schools,” Brother Carriere said. “Looking back on my career, I have thoroughly enjoyed being in the field of education, working with students mostly and helping to prepare the future leaders of Catholic education.”