An Interview with Mrs. Riet


Nick Parafiniuk, Editor

An Interview with Mrs. Riet-Lague ~ Xanadu, Expansion and Joining Priory

Mrs. Lise Riet-Lague joined the Priory community in mid-October of 2021 as Priory’s Assistant Head of School for Mission Advancement. Originally from Hilton Head, SC, Mrs. Riet and her husband, Jan, who is from the Netherlands, moved to St. Louis twelve years ago. Prior to living in St. Louis, Mrs. Riet and her family spent many years in the Netherlands and Switzerland where her two daughters (Annabel and Caroline) were born. Recently, I had the opportunity to sit down with Mrs. Riet to discuss her new role at Priory. 


Part of Priory’s mission is to provide a Catholic Benedictine education in order to help form young men, what does a Catholic education mean to you? 

The most important part of a Catholic education is the formation of values and morals in a community which has those same values and morals. It is a supportive community which will help to guide and support you as well as hold you accountable when you begin moving in the wrong direction. When I sent my daughters to a Catholic high school, I knew that the friends my kids would become close with would come from families with similar morals as ours. I believe that the same is true at Priory. 


What position did you hold prior to joining Priory?

I was an Assistant Head of School at Chesterfield Montessori School. I attended Montessori when I was younger and then a Catholic High School, so it is important to me to help provide others with a similar experience to what I had. My role there was very similar to my current position at Priory. I oversaw Marketing, Admissions, and Advancement just like I do now. I have done all of these jobs myself, so I understand them all. I feel lucky to have joined Priory with professionals who are experienced in their fields and happy to work here. 


What is your role at Priory? What does it entail? Who do you oversee?

My official title is the Assistant Head of School for Mission Advancement meaning that I lead and direct Enrollment Management, Advancement, and Marking and Communications. Part of my job also involves strategic planning in collaboration with the leadership council of Priory. 


What attracted you to Priory?

Priory has an excellent reputation amongst independent and Archdiocesan schools alike. I was familiar with Priory because many of my former students would end up coming to Priory. The most important thing though which I truly love is the spiritual formation that Priory offers. 


What was the biggest thing that stood out to you when you first joined the Abbey family?

I felt a huge feeling of welcome. Everyone welcomed me with open arms just as Christ would and I truly got the opportunity to feel the Benedictine Hospitality. I realized through my interview process that the school comes from the Abbey and the monks are what make that happen. The vow of stability that these men take provides students with an incredible gift. The monks are here to provide students, alumni, and the community with guidance, stability, friendship, and a lifelong connection. You become part of a family. 


What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced?

Chesterfield Montessori had students from preschool until eight grade. Now, I work at a school which serves young men from seventh grade through high school. That has been an adjustment. Additionally, I started in the middle of October, so I had a lot of learning to do in regards to forming relationships with not only my colleagues, but also the wider community. 


What is your favorite thing about the New Capital Campaign Expansion and Renovation Project? 

I think that it is awesome because Priory students are challenged and nourished in mind, body, and spirit, but students also need spaces to execute the school’s modern mission. The new plan honors our student’s goals. There will be a new dedicated Senior Thesis work space as well as a new state of the art Medieval Arts room for the only high school guild in the nation. Lastly, I am excited that everyone will be together in one building. 


Can you provide us with a little update as to the renovation progress? Is the project still on schedule?

The project is still on schedule and thankfully we have not had any supply chain issues thus far (knock on wood). The mechanical systems and HVAC have all been relocated and framing is already up. Progress is definitely being made. 


What are you most looking forward to at Xanadu?

I am looking forward to actually experiencing Xanadu. I have been working hard to learn the backworkings and preparation for this event, so now I actually want to attend. I am also looking forward to meeting more parents and alumni. 


Do you have a favorite item that you have heard of so far?

Honestly, my favorite is the Senior Tie Project because it is a labor of love and a true representation of the school. The amount of pride by the parents put into the Senior Tie Project shows. I am also amazed by the amount of generosity from parents, alumni, and sponsors. 


What do you believe your biggest accomplishment is thus far?

Although I have only been at Priory for a short three months, I have been able to form great bonds and relationships very quickly with the Priory community. I have a good handle of the school’s goals and I have found that I work well with the people at Priory. 


Is there anything else you would like to share with the community?

I have an open door policy. If anyone would like to come talk to me, I am very willing and happy to do that. I hope to get to know everyone soon!