Q: Tell us a little about your background.
A: I have enjoyed a very challenging, diverse and rewarding career in Catholic education, serving most recently as Assistant Principal for Instruction at Loyola Academy in Wilmette. Previous to that I had served in a variety of roles in both the classroom and administration at Jesuit High School in Portland, Oregon.
Q: What attracted you to the Saint Viator opportunity?
A: So many things. Certainly, from a career development point of view, the opportunity to achieve a position of leadership has been a decision which I have given a great deal of thought. Becoming a principal provides me with a tremendous professional challenge. But it was essential to me, that if I were to accept a position like this, it had to be in the right environment and I cannot think of a greater institution than Saint Viator. The history of the Viatorian community’s commitment to quality Catholic education is exceptional. I am following a strong leader in Eileen Manno and have the chance to help shape the future of Saint Viator High School with Brian Liedlich and Fr. Dan Hall, a leadership team that is extraordinarily talented and committed to excellence. The faculty, Board of Trustees and even the parents I have been able to meet have all reinforced what a unique and inspiring community this is. The more I learned, the more I knew this was an amazing opportunity.
Q: It sounds as if you are well acquainted with the Viatorian mission in education.
A: During my tenure at Loyola Academy I was able to witness the Viatorian charism from a distance. Once I began to research the school and as I went through the interview process the mission permeated every discussion. What impresses me about it is the way the Viatorian leadership, really around the world, merges quality education, a world-view of equality and justice, and the commitment to building lifelong relationships, all based on an adherence to Jesus’ call to serve. It is not without significant effort that this can all happen together but the Viatorian community is and has been, committed to it for centuries. I see it as my top priority to maintain their commitment and their record of success in everything we do.
Q: What should parents and students know about the transition that will take place as you begin your role this summer?
A: First, that it will be highly organized and well planned. I have the good fortune of following the transition to a new President and Vice President for Viatorian Identity and Mission just this past year so I think everyone in the administration and faculty has a heightened sense of awareness of where the pain points may be. The academic achievements of the student body in recent years and the recognition as a Blue Ribbon School and an Apple School tell me that my role will be to fine-tune, not conduct a major overhaul. There are many challenges in education today and to stay among the finest schools in the country we need to monitor trends, evaluate new methodologies, refine the commitment to technology and understand and adapt to new curricula. We have built a transition team that will look at all aspects of what we do, identify areas for improvement or that require change, and use thoughtful, open discussion among all contributors to arrive at sound decisions. We will be ready for the students to arrive in August.
Q: What does the future of Saint Viator High School look like?
A: I’m here because I think the possibilities are endless. High school education is so different than it was even a decade ago partly due to technology. It’s possible that we can’t even imagine what new technologies will be available to us 5 or 10 years from now, but we will be positioned to integrate 21st-century skills for our students to adapt to new and unchartered territory. Saint Viator has an exceptional history of preparing students to not just get into the finest colleges, but to excel there. To maintain that level of achievement we need to monitor the changes in the college experience and make sure we are aligned with those changes. Those elements aside, we will always maintain a strong commitment to Catholic faith development in all that we do.
Q: What is your mindset at this point? Anxious, excited, overwhelmed?
A: All of the above. I am very excited to begin this journey and the significance of the job is not lost on me. That being said, I feel that I have been preparing for this job for many years and with the support of Brian, Fr. Hall, the Board of Trustees and the faculty, I am really excited about what we are going to be able to accomplish together.
Q: Are you ready to be A Lion for Life?
A: I am! I’m so impressed with that all-encompassing view of welcoming middle school students into our school, of course caring for the young men and women who spend four years with us and then staying connected as they evolve from young alumni into successful careers as active alumni, and hopefully, someday, Viator parents. This truly is a community and I welcome the opportunity to work with all constituents that help make Saint Viator such a unique place.