The Board of Directors of Verbum Dei High School announced the appointment of Father Stephen A. Privett, SJ, as president. Father Privett will lead the Catholic boys high school that has been acclaimed for providing its South Central Los Angeles students a rigorous college prep curriculum for more than five decades.
“We are delighted to welcome Fr. Steve Privett as the new president of Verbum Dei High School,” said Scott Wendelin, chairman of the board of Verbum Dei. “Father Privett brings extensive experience in leadership roles at premier Jesuit educational institutions, including the University of San Francisco, where he most recently served as president. He has outstanding academic credentials with a demonstrated track record of success in effectively leading academic institutions through periods of significant growth and change. As a Jesuit and an educator, Fr. Privett is passionate about Verbum Dei’s mission and values.”
To identify the best possible candidate to lead Verbum Dei’s next phase of growth and development, the board formed a search committee and engaged the executive search firm, The Finney Search Group, to conduct an extensive, national search. After meeting with many outstanding candidates, the Board unanimously agreed that Fr. Privett was the clear choice for the school’s next president.
“I am deeply honored by the Board’s confidence in me, and I am very excited about the opportunity to work with the entire Verbum Dei community as we transition to a private, Jesuit school and one of the leading college preparatory schools in Southern California,” said Fr. Privett. “The next chapter will be an exciting one filled with new opportunities for our faculty and staff, our students and families, and our community.”
As the school transitions from a Los Angeles Archdiocesan school to a private, Jesuit school, Verbum Dei is focused on aligning its mission with the Jesuit mission of preparing young men for college and productive lives by delivering a superb academic education and, at the same time, inspiring students to embrace spirituality, scholarship, service, and leadership. Plans call for expanding and enhancing academic programs and increasing enrollment to serve more students, enhancing Verbum Dei’s impact on the community it serves. Verbum Dei will continue to be part of the Cristo Rey Network of schools and maintain its work-study program which has had an immeasurable impact on students.
Father Privett succeeds Father Michael Mandala, SJ, who served as Verbum Dei’s past president. “Fr. Mike Mandala has been a dedicated president and educator,” said Wendelin. “His tenure is marked by many success stories. In 2017, 100 percent of Verbum Dei graduates were accepted to leading colleges, including many of the most prestigious universities in the country, and our work study program sponsors increased to include nearly 100 companies, including many of the most prominent corporations and professional services firms in Los Angeles. We want to thank Fr. Mike for his many contributions to Verbum Dei.”
Previously, Fr. Privett served as president and later chancellor of the University of San Francisco, principal of Bellarmine College Preparatory School in San Jose, and provost and vice president of academic affairs at Santa Clara University. He is a graduate of Gonzaga University and earned a master’s degree in divinity at the Jesuit School of Theology and a PhD in catechetics at the Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C.
Verbum Dei High School, founded in 1962, is a Catholic, Jesuit-sponsored college preparatory school, complemented by a corporate work study program, which serves academically underserved young men of Watts and the surrounding communities. The school’s mission is to develop self-confident young men who are intellectually motivated, spiritual, contemplative, and courageous in their pursuit of a more humane and just world.
(From: Verbum Dei High School)