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Announcement of Appointment

Fordham Prep President Fr. Christopher J. Devron, SJ is pleased to announce the selection of the Prep's next principal, Dr. Joseph Petriello ’98.

Please see Father Devron’s letter to the community and a note of introduction from Dr. Petriello.


January 15, 2016

Dear Fordham Prep Community,

I am very pleased to share with you the exciting news that Dr. Joseph Petriello '98  has accepted my offer to serve as the next principal of Fordham Preparatory School, beginning in the summer of 2016. This excellent outcome concludes a nearly 5-month search and selection process.

As you recall, last August, I convened a 9-person Search Committee of Fordham Prep faculty, former and current principals, recognized leaders in secondary education, trustees, alumni and current and past parents to direct a national search for our next principal. The Committee was assisted by CS&A, a well-known recruiting firm which serves independent secondary schools.

After months of reviewing, interviewing and refining a field of very capable candidates, the Search Committee advanced to me two highly qualified finalists:  Fordham Prep’s interim principal, Mr. Brian Carney, and Dr. Joseph Petriello ’98, who serves as the Provincial’s assistant for secondary education in the USA Northeast (UNE) Province of the Society of Jesus.

Last week, the two finalists were interviewed on campus by dozens of faculty, students, administrators, staff, trustees and parents. Every individual who met with Mr. Carney and Dr. Petriello was invited to submit to me written feedback. These surveys and comments provided invaluable additional perspectives for me to carefully consider.

I am profoundly grateful to the finalists for accommodating such a rigorous selection process in a spirit of selfless cooperation. I would also like to thank the members of the Search Committee, for their wise counsel and tireless efforts. I was impressed by the finalists’ respective skillsets, inspired by their passion for Jesuit education and moved by their desire to lead Fordham Prep. Though extremely difficult, my decision was clarified through prayerful discernment and considerable reflection.

Dr. Joseph Petriello ’98 is an experienced Ignatian educator, having directed the Christian Service Program and chaired the religious studies department at Xavier High School (NY, NY) for several years. Almost two years ago, he was selected to assume a leadership role on the Provincial’s staff. In his work for the Provincial, he analyzed best practices from a wide variety of secondary schools. His efforts were instrumental in assisting these schools to address challenges, implement continuous improvement, and advance their mission—all in order to prepare them for the opportunities that the future holds for Jesuit secondary education.

Dr. Petriello’s academic background, tenure as a teacher, experience as a school leader and innovative work with curriculum development reinforce his ability to support the professional growth of faculty and to promote student learning to meet today’s challenges and seize the opportunities of tomorrow. While this experience resonates deeply with me, I am also gratified that he articulates a vision of Jesuit education rooted in faith, scholarship and service, values cherished at Fordham Prep. His work demonstrates a commitment to the core Ignatian principles of cura personalis and the magis.

On behalf of the Fordham Prep community, I would like to thank several individuals whose commitment has been indispensable during this period of transition.

First and most importantly, I am grateful to Mr. Brian Carney. Last summer, after 22 years of extraordinary dedication to the Prep, Mr. Carney answered the call of service to take on a new leadership position as interim principal in order to guide our community through this year of transition.

With a generous heart and a steady hand, Mr. Carney has further united the faculty and engaged them in developing action plans to implement our accreditation goals.  In addition, he is providing critical leadership in the areas of admissions and athletics which have undergone recent transitions. A true man for others, Mr. Carney is leading Fordham Prep forward on the path of excellence. I hope that he will continue to offer his outstanding talents, vision and boundless energy to Fordham Prep for many years to come.

I also want to acknowledge the generosity of our faculty, administrators, staff, Board of Trustees, parents and alumni who supported this search in countless ways.

Finally, I would like to thank Dr. Petriello for accepting my offer to return to the Rose Hill campus and serve Fordham Prep as its academic leader.  As we prepare to mark Fordham Prep’s 175th anniversary, we stand at a momentous inflection point in its history. With it comes a unique opportunity for us to raise the Prep’s profile as one of the nation’s premier Jesuit secondary schools. I am confident that Dr. Petriello’s leadership will build on the legacy of Fordham Prep on behalf of today’s students and those of future generations.

Very truly yours,

Rev. Christopher J. Devron, SJ

January 15, 2016

Dear Members of the Fordham Prep Community,

I am deeply honored to be named the next principal of Fordham Preparatory School.  As a community dedicated to faith, scholarship, and service, Fordham Prep provided me with a transformative experience of Jesuit education that has been the foundation of my life ever since. For the past 22 years I have been blessed to find God in all things as an alumnus of three Jesuit schools, a visionary Ignatian educator, and a strategic leader in the USA Northeast Province. With gratitude for the many graces that led to this day, I am very excited to return home to the Prep community in the service of our young men called to “go forth and set the world on fire” in the spirit of St. Ignatius Loyola.

 I would like to sincerely thank the Search Committee and the many students, faculty, staff, parents, and trustees who generously gave their time and energy to the interview process. Your warm welcome, enthusiastic conversations, and challenging questions revealed our shared love and devotion to the Prep. I am especially grateful to Fr. Chris Devron, SJ, for his support and trust. I look forward to our collaboration as partners in mission to lead Fordham Prep at this important moment in our history. As we prepare for our 175th anniversary and beyond, I am inspired by possibilities for growth as the Prep continues to explore new initiatives for educational excellence, sustained by genuine respect for our rich tradition and long-established history.

 My Catholic faith guides my vocation as a husband, a father, and an Ignatian educator. My educational vision and practice is one of accompaniment with students and colleagues as companions walking a shared journey of faith. In teaching, ministry, and formation, I have challenged others to expand their horizons, to dialogue with different perspectives, and to seek peace and justice. As I prepare for my next leadership opportunity, I desire to carefully listen to all in the Prep community, to make decisions that reflect our Jesuit and Catholic mission and identity, and to discern in a spirit of dialogue what is best for the students in our care. I hope the men of Fordham strive each day to become strong leaders who serve others with intellectual excellence, moral integrity, and solidarity with the poor and vulnerable. 

Vital to sustaining our mission is the community of women and men responsible for the daily successes and life lessons that take place in the classroom, on athletic fields, in prayer and retreats, in artistic performances, and in compassionate service. Fordham Prep’s dedicated teachers truly care for our students in the best sense of cura personalis. I am energized by the opportunity to work closely with an outstanding faculty and staff, a highly engaged student body, and a mission-driven community supported by parents, trustees, alumni, and benefactors. It is my sincere desire as Fordham Prep’s next Principal that I can continue to inspire our community to guide one another in finding opportunities to respond to Christ’s call to transform the world for God’s greater glory.

I am truly privileged to follow the path of leadership shaped by Brian Carney and Bob Gomprecht ’65, both of whom I deeply respect and admire for their long-standing commitment to Fordham Prep. My early work on ministry and service programs at Xavier was very much supported by Brian, who shared his wisdom and experience as a true colleague, mentor, and friend. Our joint trips to Tennessee clearly demonstrated a commitment to collaboration at the heart of mission. I am also immensely grateful for Bob’s extraordinary leadership for over two decades. As a student during his first years as principal, I directly benefitted from being formed under the guidance of his lifelong dedication to Fordham Prep. I look forward to the challenge of ensuring that the Fordham Prep community continues to flourish in the pursuit of human excellence, as it has during Bob’s long tenure and Brian’s current leadership.

Today, we at Fordham Prep are faced with challenges and opportunities similar to those of St. Ignatius Loyola and his first companions in the 16th century: How do we live in the tension between tradition and change? How do we continue being faithful to the mission and values of Fordham Prep as a Jesuit apostolate animated by the spirituality and charism of St. Ignatius and the Society of Jesus? How do we maintain the fundamental roots of our centuries old Ignatian vision while opening ourselves to the new horizons and frontiers of change that lie before us?

As I reflect on these questions and the path that led me back to Fordham Prep, I am consoled by the many relationships with colleagues and friends in this shared ministry. In our work together, amidst all of our collective achievements, we must always prayerfully acknowledge God’s grace animating our lives. I very much look forward to forming new relationships and deepening existing ones within the Fordham Prep community, as we move forward together.

In the first months of his pontificate, Pope Francis spoke passionately to Jesuit school students about the call to be magnanimous: “doing the little everyday things with a great heart open to God and to others.” I truly believe that this magnanimity is alive and well in the Prep community as we educate young men in ways that invite them to the fullness of life in Christ. May God continue to bless the work of the Fordham Prep community and all who serve the young men in our care, Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam.


Joseph A. Petriello, PhD ’98

Archive of Search Communications 
December 2015 Search Update


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