Copyright © 2022 Albuquerque Journal
Mike Deely says he’s a “lifer in Catholic education.”
“I grew up in it,” said Deely, who has recently been selected as head of St. Pius X High School. “Coming to St. Pius – it just feels like home.”
Deely was chosen after a nationwide search based on input from the school’s board of trustees, search committee and staff surveys. The school announced the hiring Monday.
This will be the fourth time he’ll be in a leadership position at a Catholic school. Most recently, he did a stint at the helm of Pope John Paul II High School in Nashville, Tennessee.
“St. Pius staff is abuzz and excited about our new Head of School. Mike comes with great Catholic high school leadership roots,” said Student Activities and Marketing Director Jeff Turcotte.
He’ll enter the new position after Principal Barbara Rothweiler retires at the end of June, according to Turcotte. This will be her 18th year as principal and 30th year at the school.
She was set to retire in 2020, but was asked by Archdiocese of Santa Fe Archbishop John C. Wester to remain because of the archdiocese’s bankruptcy reorganization case. The archdiocese reached a tentative settlement in that case on Tuesday.
At St. Pius X, Deely said he hopes to foster academic innovation, which for him involves blending the school’s old traditions with new ones to invite the next generation of teachers and students. He said that’s part of building the school’s “bright future ahead.”
He said he also aims to help his students develop as people, not just within the realm of education.
“It’s a good community, it’s a tight-knit alumni. There’s a lot of right things in place,” he said. “We really want to look at the God-given gifts of every kid and make sure we’re all those programs, that broad-based approach to it – the academics, arts, athletics – all those extracurriculars matter a lot.”
He said one example of integrating the new with the old has been introducing technology to schools. That’s included rolling out iPads for students he’s worked with and helping develop online classes and books.
At his previous school he was responsible for expanding STEM programs, the arts department and Advanced Placement and dual enrollment courses, according to St. Pius X officials.
Deely also served as principal for St. Charles Borromeo Academy and Cathedral Catholic High School, both in San Diego. He began as the Head of School for Pope John Paul II High School in 2015.
A big reason for taking a job in Albuquerque, Deely said, was wanting to return to the West. For him, that means being closer to his family in California, and being able to find a good place for his two middle-school age children to go through high school.
New Mexico’s mountains, he said, are also a big plus for his family, and provide a good backdrop for him to retire when the time comes.
“St. Pius kind of reminds me … of the Catholic high school I went through as a kid,” he said. “It just all fell in place.”