In the wake of Randall Adams' notice of resignation in June, a search committee of the Academy's Board of Directors spent the summer searching for candidates for his replacement. The committee evaluated a number of strong Catholic school leaders and invited several to campus for in-person interviews. Following an extensive reference checking process, the search committee unanimously recommended Mr. John O'Brien of Dana Point, CA for the position. Based on their recommendation, and with the formal approval of the Board of Directors and the Corporation of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur who serve on the Academy Corporation, I am pleased to announce that Mr. O'Brien has accepted the position to serve as President of the Academy of Notre Dame.
September 11, 2018
Dear Academy of Notre Dame Community,
In the wake of Randall Adams' notice of resignation in June, a search committee of the Academy's Board of Directors spent the summer searching for candidates for his replacement. The committee evaluated a number of strong Catholic school leaders and invited several to campus for in-person interviews. Following an extensive reference checking process, the search committee unanimously recommended Mr. John O'Brien of Dana Point, CA, for the position. Based on their recommendation, and with the formal approval of the Board of Directors and the Corporation of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur who serve on the Academy Corporation, I am pleased to announce that Mr. O'Brien has accepted the position to serve as president of the Academy of Notre Dame.
While Mr. O'Brien started his career on the east coast, even serving as assistant dean of admissions at Phillips Academy in Andover, MA, for three years, he comes to us most recently from St. Anne School in Laguna Niguel, CA, holding the office as president since 2016. Prior to that, he spent six years as head of school at St. Mary’s School in Aliso Viejo, CA. Mr. O'Brien also has extensive experience as an assistant head, department chair, teacher, and coach on both coasts.
During his tenure as a leader in the world of independent schools, Mr. O'Brien developed a particular talent in marketing, advancement, and admissions, in addition to his fine work with faculty recruitment and curriculum development. His proven experience will be a crucial to helping us reach our goals for enrollment and advancement.
Mr. O'Brien and I are eager to work together, and with all of you, in continuing to bringing the Academy's mission to life, and building on the momentum and the spirit of this great community. During our conversations, he and I both harkened upon the great potential of this wonderful school.
Please join me in providing a warm welcome to Mr. O'Brien. A letter from him follows below.
Chair of The Board of Directors
September 11, 2018
Dear Members of the Academy of Notre Dame Community,
I am truly blessed and thrilled to be joining the NDA community, and I pledge to continue to build on the very fine work that the Board of Directors, administrators, faculty and staff have done since the school’s inception to make it such a strong and highly regarded institution. I also recognize the invaluable support and contributions of the NDA parents, and I look forward to working with you and your children in our commitment to staying true to the school’s mission.
The school’s reputation for providing a rigorous, first-rate and truly well-rounded Catholic education in a nurturing family setting is well known in the Tyngsboro area and beyond. I came to know and develop great respect for NDA during my tenure at Phillips Andover.
As I read the mission, Hallmarks, history, and program descriptions on the school’s website I recognized very clear connections with my own philosophy about what a quality, independent Catholic school should represent and what it must strive to inspire in its students: intellectual curiosity, creativity and critical thought, spiritual growth and faith, aesthetic sensitivity, physical well-being, moral fortitude, an inclusive and global mindset, and service to others. I also feel strongly that a quality school must nurture the growth of values and goals in all of its members, and foster the alliance with parents. It appears that NDA does all of these things so well. Additionally, the breadth and depth of programs and opportunities offered to students is quite impressive.
The face of education in America and elsewhere is changing rapidly as the world has become a true global community. Globalization has made it abundantly clear that schools and the students and teachers in the 21st century will need to focus less on memorization of facts that are unconnected and more on studying information in ways that promote deeper critical thinking (analysis and synthesis) and creative, innovative, and collaborative approaches to problem solving. Developing a true global mindset and an understanding and appreciation for other cultures will also be a must for students. Additionally, technology has become part of the fabric of education, and schools must acknowledge their pedagogical obligation to not only embrace it and remain current with the latest practices and applications but also address the ethical and responsible use of technology by students.
It is exciting to know that the Academy of Notre Dame community is not content to rest on its laurels, but is instead looking to the future with both a sense of pride in the school’s many accomplishments as well as an understanding of the priorities and challenges to be addressed. NDA is a strong and dynamic school, and it is poised to become both the school of choice in the area as well as a model for schools everywhere to emulate. Again, I am thrilled and inspired to have the opportunity to work with the Board, my colleagues, and all of you to take the school to even greater heights.
Please find my bio attached to this letter. I look forward to meeting and getting to know you and your children.
John O’Brien, President