Mo. school leader named head of Loyola Blakefield

The Rev. Thomas A. Pesci to begin new job July 1

February 09, 2005|By Sara Neufeld | Sara Neufeld,SUN STAFF

The Rev. Thomas A. Pesci, the longtime leader of a Jesuit high school in Kansas City, Mo., has been named president of Loyola Blakefield prep school in Towson, the school announced yesterday.

Pesci, 55, will assume the presidency July 1, when the Rev. Jack Dennis steps down. Dennis announced in the fall that this school year would be his last at Loyola, a Jesuit school with an enrollment of about 970 boys.

A Philadelphia native, Pesci said his new job will be a homecoming of sorts: From 1980 to 1984, he served as Loyola's chaplain, teaching classical languages and religious studies and advising the yearbook staff.

Until 2004, he spent 11 years as president of Rockhurst High School in Kansas City, where he is credited with increasing enrollment and the endowment during a time of financial struggle. He inherited a school in debt and, Loyola officials said, turned it around.

This school year, Pesci said, he is taking a working sabbatical. He spent the first semester as the director of Ignatian identity at Georgetown Preparatory School in Bethesda, working with the faculty on spiritual development. He is now the "administrator reflector" at the Jesuit Secondary Education Association in Washington, leading training sessions for Jesuit school administrators, and he is working as a consultant.

Aurelia T. Burt, co-chairwoman of Loyola's search committee, said Pesci was chosen because of his strong sense of Jesuit mission and Ignatian spirituality. She also praised his administrative experience, academic background and communication skills. She said he was chosen from a pool of about 25 applicants.

"All the people who worked with him in Kansas City told us he can communicate the Jesuit mission better than anyone," Burt said.

Pesci holds degrees from Fordham University in New York, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Weston School of Theology in Massachusetts, according to his resume. He entered the Jesuits in 1968 and was ordained a priest in 1979 at Loyola College in Baltimore.

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