SAN FRANCISCO: Rev. Edward A. Reese, S.J., will serve as the 31st president of St. Ignatius College Preparatory beginning July 1, 2016, after a unanimous vote by the school’s Board of Trustees, the school announced Jan. 20.
The board selected Fr. Reese, a veteran administrator of California Jesuit Schools, after an extensive nationwide search led by SI Trustee Justice Peter Siggins ’73.
SI President Edwin B. Harris, S.J. ’63, who will finish his term in June, praised his successor for being forward-thinking and for having the depth of experience that stretches back to 1968, when Fr. Reese began his career in education as a scholastic teaching at Loyola High School.
“The Search Committee did an outstanding job of working through a slate of well-qualified candidates for this important position,” added Rev. Greg Bonfiglio, S.J., chair of SI’s Board of Trustees. “They served the mission of the school — and ultimately our students — extremely well. Fr. Reese brings with him skills and experience that uniquely position him to build on what has been accomplished and lead this excellent school forward. We are blessed to have him.”
Justice Siggins added that “the search committee seriously weighed the applications of a highly qualified group of candidates. But when all was said and done, Fr. Reese fulfilled all the desirable characteristics developed in our listening sessions for the profile of SI’s next president. He is an experienced administrator and a proven fundraiser. He has earned the loyalty of a devoted staff and has demonstrated his commitment to fostering diversity. His pastoral acumen and obvious passion for Jesuit secondary education impressed us all. The committee is thankful that Fr. Reese has accepted the mission, and we look forward to the next chapter of SI’s storied history under his care and direction.”
Currently at Brophy College Preparatory in Phoenix, where he has served for the past 20 years as president, Fr. Reese has also served as an assistant principal at Loyola High School, an assistant principal and principal at Bellarmine College Preparatory in San Jose (1978–1993); and as an administrator, teacher and counselor at St. Ignatius Riverview in Sydney, Australia (1993–1995).
“Father Reese has led Brophy, in collaboration with its students, faculty, administration and entire Brophy community to become a nationally recognized Jesuit high school,” said Brophy’s Chairman of the Board of Trustees John Strittmatter. “We will miss him greatly. However we are happy that our sister school in San Francisco can benefit from his proven success as a leader, visionary and change agent.”
Fr. Reese’s many accomplishments at Brophy include raising more than $85 million in philanthropic funds, doubling the campus footprint, bringing technology to the campus that made Brophy the first high school in Arizona with one-to-one computing, developing highly competitive faculty salaries and benefits and quadrupling the student financial aid budget. His proudest achievement is the establishment of the Loyola Academy in 2010, providing tuition-free education to 6th, 7th and 8th grade male scholars coming from under-served student populations in Phoenix.
Most recently, he spearheaded the construction of several new facilities at Brophy, including the Eller Center for the Arts, the Piper Science and Math Center, the Harper Great Hall, the Aquatic Center and the Brophy Sports Campus. He has also broken ground on the Fr. Harry T. Olivier, S.J., Practice Gymnasium.
Born in Alhambra, Calif., Fr. Reese graduated from Loyola High School in 1961, at which time he entered the Society of Jesus. After his studies in philosophy (Gonzaga University) and theology (the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley), he was ordained a priest in 1973. In his several stints at Loyola, he taught English, Modern European History and religious studies, he chaired the theology department, he coached the freshman football team, he ran the student dormitory, and he served as an assistant principal for student affairs and director of campus ministry before continuing his studies at Fordham University in secondary school administration. In addition to his administrative duties at Bellarmine, he also taught students to use computers and served as chaplain to the San Jose Police Department. He currently serves as chaplain of the Phoenix Police Department and is on the board of Boys Hope Girls Hope of Phoenix and the Phoenix Community Alliance. He also serves as a trustee for Gonzaga University.
Fr. Reese noted that he takes great pride “in serving with, hiring and promoting talented people in all the wonderful schools in which I have worked. It will be hard for me to leave Brophy. When the opportunity arose to serve the St. Ignatius community, I got excited. It’s the right time to make a change. I hope I can do some good at SI.”
Joining Justice Siggins on the search committee were fellow SI trustees Dr. Ted W. Love, Maureen Clark and Mr. A.J. Rizzo, S.J.; SI regents Alicia Donahue-Silvia, Esq., and Dr. Frederick Gaines; Assistant Principal for Student Affairs Robert Gavin; Latin teacher Grace Curcio; Alumni Board member Catherine Carr ’00; and alumna Gina Antonini ’02.
For more information, please contact Paul Totah, Director of Communications at St. Ignatius College Preparatory.