Saint John’s Prep Names New Head of School
Jon McGee brings Academic Leadership, college preparation expertise to Saint John’s Prep at historic moment
After a nationwide search, Saint John’s Preparatory School in Collegeville, Minn., is proud to announce Jon McGee as its next head of school. McGee, who currently serves as the vice president for planning and strategy at the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University (CSB/SJU), will take office on July 1. He will be the first lay leader of the school following 29 monastic members of Saint John’s Abbey who have successively led the school since its founding in 1857.
“Jon McGee is an excellent educational leader with extensive experience in the private college and university market not only at Saint Ben’s and Saint John’s but across the country,” said Chris Twomey, chair of the Saint John’s Preparatory School Board of Regents and a member of the class of 1966. “His years of dedication to education and students’ preparation for life, and his passion for Prep and the Benedictine values, was evident throughout the search and interview process. We are thrilled he will lead the school at this historic moment.”
After current Headmaster Fr. Jonathan Licari, OSB, announced his retirement last fall, Saint John’s Prep enlisted Carney, Sandoe and Associates, a national educational search firm, to help with the head of school search. Tom Stock, a member of the SJP Board of Regents, chaired the Head of School Search Committee made up of parent, faculty, alumni, monastic and board of regent representatives. The four-month search produced an outstanding response from education leaders from across the United States and abroad. After thorough vetting of many highly qualified candidates, Saint John’s Preparatory School Board of Regents voted unanimously and enthusiastically on Feb. 25, 2019, to approve the search committee’s recommendation to appoint McGee as its next head of school.
“I have been fortunate to work with superb institutions and organizations in a variety of roles to help them create, shape and move toward their aspirations,” said McGee. “The opportunity to continue that work as head of school at Saint John’s Prep is extraordinary and one I am excited to embrace,” said McGee.
McGee is the author of two books, Dear Parents: A Field Guide for College Preparation and Breakpoint: The Changing Marketplace for Higher Education. He is also a trustee of the College Board and serves on the faculty of the Harvard Summer Institute on College Admissions. Jon has written many essays and blogs for higher education professional organizations and consultant groups. He’s often enlisted to speak to parents, higher education administrators, faculty and trustees about economic and development trends in education for both schools and families.
“Jon comes to Saint John’s Prep with an extensive knowledge and understanding of the school’s rich history and strong Catholic Benedictine philosophy,” said Abbot John Klassen, OSB, and a member of the class of 1967 and chancellor of Saint John’s Prep. “As Prep enters its third year of a three-year strategic plan, Jon offers the unique perspective and experience as a chief strategist and consultant to other institutions of higher learning, including secondary schools. He understands the economic, challenges and opportunities the school faces as a globally minded, independent school in the ever-changing landscape of education.”
McGee said, “For nearly a decade, I have had the fortunate opportunity to experience Prep through both a professional and parental prism. It is a remarkable school, providing its students with an excellent college preparatory education in the Catholic Benedictine tradition. At the same time, it faces challenges common to private schools nationally. I look forward to addressing the challenges and opportunities ahead.”
McGee, a native of Mankato, Minn., holds a bachelor’s degree in government from Saint John’s University graduating egregia cum laude in 1984. He earned an M.A. in public affairs from the University of Minnesota’s Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs in 1988. He joined the administration of the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University in 1999 as the director of institutional planning and research after leadership positions at the Minnesota Private College Council and the Minnesota Department of Finance. His portfolio of work over the past 16 years for CSB/SJU, in addition to planning and strategy, also includes enrollment, communications and public affairs.
“The Catholic Benedictine values that guide and energize daily life at Saint John’s Prep and the greater Saint John’s community have become an important part of my own and my family’s life,” he said. “It is an extraordinary privilege to be a part of this community and contribute to its enduring values.”
McGee and his wife, Ann, live in Cold Spring, Minn., and have four children; two who have graduated from Prep and two who are attending the school. “Our children have received an extraordinary educational experience at Saint John’s Prep and I look forward to ensuring that those advantages remain for students for generations to come,” McGee said.
Saint John’s Prep is an independent college preparatory school guided by Catholic Benedictine values located in Collegeville, Minn. Students in grades five through 12 from diverse backgrounds immerse themselves in a learning environment surrounded by natural beauty of our pristine woods and lakes shared with Saint John’s University. For more information, visit www.sjprep.net.