Damien High School, a Los Angeles Archdiocesan, single-gender male Catholic high school located in the city of La Verne, has announced a candidate search to fill the position of President, commencing with the 2020-2021 academic year. Working collaboratively with the school Principal, the President will provide enthusiastic, mission-centered leadership to ensure strong academic and co-curricular programs permeated by the Catholic faith. The start date for the President is July 1, 2020.
Damien High School History and Mission
Located in the City of La Verne, on the eastern edge of the Los Angeles County border, the school is celebrating sixty years of service having been formed with the boys from the former Pomona Catholic High School on Holt Street in Pomona in 1959. That school continues as Pomona Catholic Girls High School, one of two sister schools to Damien along with St Lucy’s High School (all girls) in Glendora. The campus, formerly housing Bonita High School, was purchased in 1959 for this purpose. As such, many of the current buildings are historical treasures of the City of La Verne and several are nearing 100 years old. Today, Damien serves approximately 900 boys from the families of the Eastern San Gabriel and Pomona Valleys as well as the I-210, I-15 and I-57 corridors.
The school truly lives out its mission: “Inspired by St. Damien of the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, Damien High School, an all-boys Catholic school, develops men of Service, Scholarship, and Faith, prepared to engage in a global society.” The school is known for its core values of faith, academics and service. There is a strong presence of veteran faculty, many (33%) of whom are Damien graduates.
A Nationally Recognized Leader in Academic Excellence
Damien High School has been ranked among the top private schools in California, according to the Washington Post’s “2017 Most Challenging Schools in America.” This “Challenge Index” compares the ratio of graduating seniors to the number of external AP and IB assessments administered. In 2019 this was 4.43 (874 AP exams and 17 IB assessments administered divided by 201 graduates), and it is projected to grow as the IB Program enrollment continues to expand.
Damien High School recently completed in February 2019 a Self-Study for the purposes of accreditation renewal through the Western Catholic Education Association (WCEA) and Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). This work resulted in a continuing accreditation through June 30, 2025. The school is also fully accredited for the Diploma Programme of the International Baccalaureate Organization (IB DP). The 2019-2020 school year is the third full cohort of IB Diploma Candidates. This summer, the school also applied for authorization to offer the IB CP Program (Career Path) concurrent with its four-year Project Lead the Way (PLTW) Engineering Program.
Damien High school is an active member of the International Boys Schools Coalition (IBSC) and annually sends faculty and staff to IBSC conferences for professional enrichment on the latest research in the teaching of boys. The school is a supportive member of the National Catholic Education Association (NCEA.) In athletics, Damien is a member of the local public school Baseline League along with sister-school St. Lucy’s to offer a co-ed competition program.
The President-Principal Administrative Structure
The President-Principal model of administration has been in place for ten years at the school but has gone through several transitions of personnel. The role of President was served by a member of the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, the religious order that has staffed the school since its inception in 1959. In March 2019, the most recent Priest-President resigned leaving the current lay Principal to serve both as Interim President and Principal. This will continue until a new President and Principal are in place for the 2020-2021 school year. The school is currently in its third iteration of a Consultative Board to bring outside resources to support its programs.
Upon having a Master Plan approved by the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, the school currently is in the early stages of a Capital Campaign to replace the oldest lunch shelter on campus with a cafeteria as part of the requirement of the City of La Verne. All preliminary approvals with the City and Archdiocese have been granted (as of May 2019) for this to happen as soon as the money ($3.7 M) is raised.
Responsibilities of the School President
Reporting to the Department of Catholic Schools for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, the President is the Chief Executive Officer of the school, and as such, holds full responsibility for implementation of the school’s mission and all aspects of the school’s business and development operations. The President is directly responsible for the external affairs of the school, for ensuring sufficient resources, sound fiscal management and financial stability of the school through oversight of the business operations, development, alumni, community relations and enrollment management activities. The President works with the Consultative Board to promote the good reputation and values of the school to the external community.
The ideal candidate will have the following qualifications:
Knowledgeable and practicing Catholic with a thorough understanding of Catholic school philosophy
Completed or is willing to complete basic catechist training
Commitment to modeling the values of Catholic educational leadership
Master’s Degree in Educational Administration, Business Management, or related field
Business skills necessary to manage a financial budget and develop strategic and annual plans
Possess the skills necessary to effectively market the strengths of a school, build community relationships, and drive fundraising activities
Exceptional communication and interpersonal skills including proven ability to engage and inspire a wide range of stakeholders, and to build creative and mutually beneficial relationships within the philanthropic community, alumni, and corporate and non-profit sectors.
Proven fundraising and/or revenue generating success, preferably in the non-profit sector and with foundations.
Significant visionary leadership and management experience, with demonstrated success in addressing immediate organizational needs while driving toward longer-term goals with buy-in from all stakeholders.
Experience building, coaching, and empowering effective teams and holding team members accountable for performance
Essential Leadership Characteristics:
Ability to balance decisive leadership with respectful collaboration and inclusivity
Excellent oral and written communication and motivational skills with a variety of stakeholders
Demonstrated success in providing visionary, dynamic, and entrepreneurial leadership
The ability or demonstrated performance in overseeing and directing a multifaceted operation, including fundraising, public relations, facility maintenance and enhancement, financial management and supervision of senior personnel
Intellectual, organizational, and managerial skills with an ability to lead others in long-term planning
Attitudes characterized by creativity, initiative, and optimism
Ability to effectively represent the school and the Church
Application Deadline: October 25, 2019
Position Starting Date: July 1, 2019
Interested and qualified candidates should submit the following:
Compelling letter of interest indicating how your skills, knowledge, and experience match the philosophy and values of Catholic education, the charism of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, and Damien High School
A list of professional references including former and current supervisors with telephone numbers; written reference letters may also be provided (references will not be contacted until candidates have been informed at the appropriate stage of the search process)