St. Matthias School hires a new principal
LAST WEEK I promised news regarding the search for our new principal, and I’m delighted to keep that promise—but first a quick review of the selection process and how it worked. Sal Guccione, the Assistant Superintendant of Schools for our vicariate, explained the archdiocese’s procedure for selecting a principal and the responsibilities of the selection committee, school board, and pastor. Along with the school board, the selection committee included school parents, an Assistant Professor from Loyola’s School of Education, the President of a Chicago Catholic High School, and a teacher representative chosen by our faculty. After training with Sal, the committee selected a chair, Mary McMahon, and formed working groups . All information and discussions were held in confidence.
The committee solicited applicants from numerous venues. Criteria for selecting a principal for St. Matthias School were submitted by school parents and faculty and were used extensively during the interview process. Among other areas, the selection committee considered each candidate’s knowledge and proven skills regarding:
- enhanced academic standards and curriculum development
- school administration
- financial management and fundraising
- interaction with faculty, students and parents
- all varieties of student special needs and individualized learning,
- leadership in an active, diverse, and growing community
- teacher support and training
- faith development
With these criteria in mind, members of the selection committee met over 20 times, exchanged over 500 emails, received and reviewed 23 applications, and conducted initial interviews of eight excellent candidates. After long and detailed deliberation together, the committee selected its top candidate. Much to our great pleasure, he accepted the position.
It is a real joy to announce that Adam Default will be principal of St. Matthias School beginning July 1. Default excelled on every point of our selection criteria.
Default is a graduate of Georgetown University School of Foreign Service with concentrations in science, technology, and international affairs. Since Georgetown, he also has earned two masters degrees (school administration and teaching) from Dominican University. After college, he devoted one year of service to the Jesuit Volunteers/ Americorp program and found himself teaching at the Jesuit’s St. Procopius School on the near Southside of Chicago. After that year of service, he chose to remain at St. Procopius—first as a teacher of math, language arts, and social studies and, for the past four years, as their principal. Last year, under Default’s leadership, St. Procopius received the John and Rosemary Croghan Award for achieving the largest annual gain in Terra Nova standardized test scores.
Default is fluent in Spanish and introduced a unique dual-language curriculum to St. Procopius along with up -to-date curriculum mapping, technology programs, and data analysis to help accomplish greater rates of individual student achievement. In his “spare” time he has been a consultant on curriculum development, taught math and language arts to at-risk youth, and adult education English courses in Krakow, Poland. Recently, he has served as a mentor to new principals through Xavier University’s Graduate School of Education and the Archdiocese ’s School Leadership Academy.
Default told the selection committee that he applied to St. Matthias School not only because he believed his experience and abilities were a good match to our needs but because, after ten great years at St. Procopius School, he would benefit by the new challenges and opportunities offered by our vibrant school community.
On the personal side, Default and his fiancée, Lisa, will be married this summer. Lisa, a high school counselor, is looking for a position in a high school near to us—so keep an eye out for her.
Everyone is invited to welcome Principal-designate Adam Default to our school and parish family on Monday, May 7 at 7 pm in the school hall.
P.S. I want to thank the principal selection committee for their extraordinary efforts. There is no more important responsibility than theirs in our parish’s recent history, and they did it very, very well. The selection committee included Paula Connolly, Marie Iezzoni, Sarah Kirkorian, Tom Krebs, Michelle Lia, Mike McGovern, Mary McMahon, and Tony Ortiz.