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Strategic Plan and Head of School Update Fall 2018

Beyond Ordinary.

This compelling, two-word phrase captures the essence of the bold strategic vision that will define the next generation of students, teachers, leaders and supporters of Saint John’s Prep. When the Board of Regents approved the new three-year strategic plan in May 2017, it did so with the knowledge that while Saint John’s Prep is well-positioned to continue providing a world-class student experience, the status quo never is acceptable. The visionary strategy is supported by a leadership succession plan that has been thoughtfully researched and carefully drafted. Together, they prepare Saint John’s Prep to meet the demands of the future while holding true to the traditions and values that have created a strong foundation. Nowhere are those traditions and values better stated than in our mission:

Saint John’s Preparatory School educates our students for a lifetime of learning, leadership and service in a global society, celebrating our Catholic Benedictine tradition.

The Strategic Plan

The strategic plan supports our mission by confidently mapping an exciting future in five key areas:

  • The Student Experience: Ensuring that the needs of the modern learner are being met, inspiring critical thinking and problem solving within our liberal arts framework and shaped by enhanced Benedictine Tradition programming.
  • Enrollment and Admissions: Maintaining small class sizes while increasing admissions among qualified students; in particular, we will grow and diversify the residential student population.
  • Fundraising: Annual fundraising and endowment goals will beraised to levels sufficient to maintain a strong financial base and to minimize annual tuition increases.
  • People: A competitive compensation structure will becreated to recruit and retain highly-qualified faculty and staff.
  • Infrastructure: A Master Campus Plan will be completed to help define and prioritize facility needs; in particular, Saint Michael Hall will be renovated to create secure separate residential wings for Saint John’s Prep male and female resident students.


The Succession Plan

Headmaster Father Jonathan Licari, OSB and the Board of Regents have spent much time and attention on the issue of succession planning. In February, a Task Force comprised of members of the Board of Regents, experts in private-school education, a Saint John’s Prep parent, a faculty member, and a former principal of Saint John’s Prep was appointed by the Board to build on the succession planning already
done by Fr. Licari and the Board. The Task Force was challenged to assess the organizational structure needed to guide Saint John’s Prep through the strategic plan and into the future.
The Task Force investigated a variety of organizational structures, including combining the Head of School and Principal into a single position. After careful consideration, the Task Force unanimously agreed that the importance and challenge of managing and achieving the strategic plan’s comprehensive scope and aggressive goals will require a substantial share of the Head of School’s time; these vital
responsibilities must not be compromised by a structure that combines two ful-time jobs- Head of School and Principal – into a single position. The Task Force developed job descriptions of the duties and qualifications for Head of School and Principal consistent with the proposed organizational structure and with the traditions and values of Prep, including the importance of assuring that the school always is infused with and guided by Benedictine values.

At its September meeting, the Board of Regents accepted the Task Force’s report and adopted its recommendations. Fr. Licari, currently serving in his sixth year as Headmaster, advised the Board during this meeting that he plans to retire as Headmaster in June·of 2019. As a result of this announcement, the Board of Regents voted to commence a search for a Head of School immediately with a goal to have a new leader in place for the 2019-2020 school year. As you likely know, Katie Bergstrom ’83, JD, is currently serving as interim Principal. The Board recommends that a permanent principal be selected under the direction of the next Head of School. Interim Principal Bergstrom has offered to remain in this position throughout the search processes tor a Head of School and Principal.

Finally, in its report, the Task Force acknowledged that the skills and experience a Head of School needs to lead an independent, world-class college preparatory school in today’s competitive world of private education might not always be available among the members of Saint John’s Abbey. While the Board anticipates that qualified monks may apply for the Head of School position, the Board recommends that the search, consistent with the bylaws of the school and past practice, be broadened to include lay leaders.

The Board of Regents will use a national search firm to assist in hiring the next head of school. The goal is to name a new leader in early 2019.

It is an exciting time for our Prep School as we look to the future with great hope and excitement.

Abbot John Klassen ’67, OSB Chancellor
Chris Twomey ’66 Chair, Board of Regents
Father Jonathan Licari, OSB Headmaster