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President Search Process Update

It is a pleasure to provide you with an update on the national search for the next President of Bishop O’Dowd High School. This search process, which was initiated in early February, has afforded O’Dowd the opportunity to seek the most qualified and talented candidates to lead the school forward.

To date, a number of candidates from around the country have applied for this position, and they are being thoroughly vetted by our search consultants from Catholic School Management. The best qualified candidates will be interviewed by the Search Committee in mid-April. Pending the outcome of those interviews, we anticipate a successful conclusion to the search process with a new President taking office on July 1, 2018.

On behalf of the Search Committee and the Board of Regents, we are most grateful that so many O’Dowd stakeholders – alumni, students, parents, faculty, staff, parents of alumni, and friends -chose to participate in the search process by sharing their ideas and suggestions for the skills and qualifications which the next President of Bishop O’Dowd High School should possess. Approximately 135 members of the O’Dowd community took the time to respond to the online survey and the responses received will be invaluable to the members of the Search Committee in their consideration of candidates.

There was strong consensus among those who participated in the survey that the greatest challenge and opportunity facing Bishop O’Dowd High School and its next President is the need to maintain and grow the excellence of the school in all areas, continuing to elevate its reputation as a premiere Catholic, college preparatory school, thereby sustaining and furthering the successful foundation set by our late, beloved President Steve Phelps. In the opinion of our stakeholders, achieving continued excellence requires an ongoing commitment to the following:

  1. Deepening the vibrant Catholic identity of the school;

  2. Embracing academic, cultural, socio-economic, racial, ethnic, and religious diversity;

  3. Successfully continuing the fund development and building projects to improve the facility consistent with the master facilities plans;

  4. Sustaining and surpassing standards of academic excellence through a prestigious curriculum, highly professional faculty, and technological innovation;

  5. Maintaining an environment for students that is inclusive, safe, supportive, and which fosters an awareness of our world; and

  6. Growing the donor base and endowment to meet financial sustainability goals and maintain affordable tuition.

It is clear from the survey responses that there is a desire on the part of the O’Dowd community to find a leader who is capable of continuing to position the school as a leading Catholic high school in Northern California. In the words of one respondent, the opportunity facing the next President is to: “Build an award winning campus, create an environment sound with diverse inclusion, and create a national model for high school education that serves the whole child.” In order to achieve that, respondents desire the following key characteristics in candidates for President:

  1. Catholic faith abundantly reflected in life experiences;

  2. Strong leadership skills with a dedication to and respect for Catholic education;

  3. Personable and approachable with a genuine caring for each and every student;

  4. Appreciation and respect for all backgrounds, experiences, and viewpoints;

  5. Polished brand ambassador who can create connections throughout the Bay Area;

  6. Experience raising large sums of money; and

  7. Visionary and forward thinking, with the ability to plan strategically and bring ideas to fruition.

Please know that the members of the Search Committee and the Board of Regents are committed to the success of the search process and to finding the best candidate to lead Bishop O’Dowd High School forward. Thank you again for your guidance, your thoughts, and your prayers.

Blessings to all of you during this Easter season.

Kim Walsh

Interim President and Chair of the Search Committee

This section of the Bishop O’Dowd High School website is intended to keep all members of the school community informed regarding the search for the next President. We will update this page as significant developments occur throughout the search process. If you have any questions about the search, please direct them to Kim Walsh, Interim President and Chair of the Search Committee via email:

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