On September 30 I presented to the school’s Board of Directors a new project that I will undertake as part of the mandate given to me by Fr Peter Bisson SJ, the Provincial Superior of the Jesuits in English Canada when he sent me to St Paul’s. That project involves restructuring the governance of the school to ensure that it can continue in the Jesuit tradition even if the Jesuits are not able to provide someone for the role of President.
This is an established pattern in Jesuit schools around the world. Already about one-quarter of the US schools have such structures, including lay Presidents, with more of them moving in that direction each year. These structures entrust the responsibility for maintaining the Jesuit tradition to a lay Board of Governors, which acts on behalf of the Jesuits and is directly accountable to the Provincial Superior. The President is then mandated by the Board of Governors to carry forward the mission of the Society of Jesus as the apostolic leader in the school.
This restructuring should not be interpreted as an indication that there will be no Jesuits at St Paul’s in the future. Realistically, with the number of Jesuits declining, it is reasonable to assume that there will be fewer Jesuits available for high school ministry, at least in the short term. But there will always be the possibility of a Jesuit being assigned to St Paul’s in one capacity or another.
The intention of this move to restructure the governance of the school is to provide stability for the future in order that the school may continue to operate as a Jesuit ministry, even if the Jesuits are unable to find someone to serve as President. If a Jesuit is identified as a potential candidate for that position he would be invited by the Provincial to apply for the job in the normal fashion and would be evaluated according to established criteria, along with any other suitable candidates. That way the school can ensure that the most capable person is entrusted with that responsibility.
To carry this project forward, I have enlisted the assistance of four people who have agreed to serve with me on a Governance Committee, which the Board of Directors voted to create. Three of these people are current members of the Board: Mr David Filmon - Chair, Mr Roy Cook - Past-Chair, and Ms Pamela Clarke. The fourth member is Chief Justice Glen Joyal. The committee will begin its work as soon as a meeting can be scheduled.
As a time-frame for this project, I foresee that it will take about three years to create and implement the new structure. That will then allow at least two years to work out the bugs and make sure the structure is functioning properly before we have to consider finding a replacement for me as President. At that point, for whenever the Provincial decides it is time for me to move on, we will have in place all that is necessary to guarantee the continuity of the Jesuit tradition at St Paul’s.
I thank you for your on-going and generous support of St Paul’s. I assure you that we will continue to work very hard to merit that support and to provide to your sons the highest quality of Jesuit education.
Fr Leonard Altilia SJ
October 01, 2013 at 1:25pm