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Next president of St. John’s College High School, Kevin Haley, praised for professional leadership and noted for family connections to the school

Following an extensive national search, St. John’s College High School in Washington, D.C., has announced that Kevin M. Haley has been appointed as the school’s next president and will begin serving in that role on July 1, 2024. Founded in 1851 in the nation’s capital, St. John’s is a coeducational Catholic high school, and it is the second oldest De La Salle Christian Brothers school in the United States. 

A Jan. 3 letter to the St. John’s College High School community from search committee members including Patrick M. Dunn, the school’s Board Chair, praised Haley for his appreciation for Catholic education and the Lasallian mission and his accomplishments as a leader in varied professional environments, and noted his family connections to St. John’s and his deep Catholic roots in the Archdiocese of Washington. 

That letter praised Haley for being a “life-long learner and student of servant leadership” in his professional career, adding, “Kevin has consistently succeeded in unique settings over several decades in government, private and public companies, philanthropic and for-profit board work, and most recently, as the chief strategy officer for Under Armour.”

The letter also noted that Haley – who will become St. John’s 29th president – was a unanimous selection by the search committee, St. John’s Board of Trustees and the District of Eastern North America of the Brothers of the Christian Schools. The national search, the first open and community-inclusive presidential search process in the 173-year history of St. John’s, drew interest from leaders in education, government, military, business and non-profit sectors, and included 500 survey responses and nearly 50 interviews with faculty, staff, students, trustees, parents, alumni and administrators. The letter noted that a key priority in the choice for the new president was “to ensure that St. John’s continues to be committed to its Lasallian identity while building upon its position as an innovative leader in secondary Catholic education.”

Praising Haley’s qualifications, the letter noted his “appreciation for Catholic education and the Lasallian mission, support for faculty, commitment to developing character and service to others… (and his) organizational leadership.”

The letter also highlighted his family background. Kevin Haley is a native Washingtonian who was born and raised in a large Catholic family, and his grandfather, Pete Haley, helped found the Catholic Youth Organization in the Archdiocese of Washington in 1945. After attending Catholic elementary and secondary schools, Kevin Haley graduated from Princeton University and the University of Virginia School of Law. He and his wife of 27 years, Kathleen Haley, met during law school and have six children: Maggie, T.J., Mac, Charlie, Mollie and Grace. Their oldest sons graduated from St. John’s – T.J. Haley in 2020, and Mac Haley in 2022. In addition, many other relatives have studied at, taught and graduated from St. John’s over the years.

Reacting to his appointment, Kevin Haley said in a statement that, “St. John’s impacted my kids in a positive way because of its unique mission – to educate young men and women from diverse socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds – which has proven effective across continents and over hundreds of years dating back to St. John Baptist de La Salle. I am grateful for and excited by the opportunity to be a steward of that mission so others can experience that same positive impact from St. John’s for another 100 years."

In a statement to the Catholic Standard, Patrick Dunn, the chair of St. John’s Board of Trustees and a member of the search committee, praised the school’s next president, saying, “We are excited for St. John’s future. Kevin Haley is inspired by St. John’s Lasallian mission: to foster a warm and welcoming community that allows a vibrant and diverse student population to achieve their greatest potential. Throughout his professional career, Kevin has successfully led people towards an aligned and shared mission in both prosperous and challenging environments.”

Dunn, the president of CopperDunn LLC, also noted that, “Kevin is passionate and intentional about his commitment to St. John’s Lasallian mission, tradition and culture. Equipped with a broad variety of experiences, Kevin is aspirational, innovative and wise, a well-tested and creative leader, and a proven people-developer. St. John’s will be forever grateful to the transformational leadership of Brother Thomas Gerrow, FSC, and Jeff Mancabelli, and the St. John’s community is excited to welcome Kevin Haley to build upon our unique Lasallian identity.”

As St. John’s next president, Haley will succeed Jeff Mancabelli, who started teaching at St. John’s in 1999, became its first lay principal in 2001 and its first lay president in 2010. Under Mancabelli’s leadership, St. John’s has undergone a dramatic transformation in its academic programming and physical plant. Mancabelli, whose youngest child will graduate from St. John’s this spring, announced last year that this would be his final year there. Beginning on July 1, Mancabelli will serve as the Head of School at the Collegiate School, a coeducational and independent day school in Richmond, Virginia.

St. John’s College High School has a current enrollment of 1,270 students, who come to the school from all parts of Washington, D.C., and the nearby Maryland suburbs, and from as far away as Woodbridge and Great Falls in Virginia and Southern Maryland and from north of Baltimore. Since 2013, every student has received an iPad when they enter the school, enabling all students to be on a single platform. One hundred percent of St. John’s graduates are accepted into four-year colleges and universities, and last year’s graduating class received more than $34 million in scholarships for college.