California educator to be next St. John's president

6/3/2013
BY TOM TROY
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Michael Truesdell.
Michael Truesdell.

Corrected version: A change was made in the start date of the new president.

St. John's Jesuit High School has selected California educator Michael Truesdell as its new president.

Mr. Truesdell will become the Toledo boys school's ninth president, the high school announced today. He will be the first lay person to head the Catholic boys' school.

Mr. Truesdell, 60, who is ending a nine-year stint as president of Cardinal Newman High School in Santa Rosa, Calif., starts July 1. He was selected after a three-month national search to replace outgoing President Rev. Joaquin O. Martinez.

St. John's said Mr. Truesdell was selected because of his experience as president of an outstanding Catholic high school, his passion for Jesuit education and fostering Jesuit identity, and his successful business experience.

Prior to his tenure at Cardinal Newman, he was dean of the School of Business and Economics at Methodist University in North Carolina and held various leadership roles in the high-tech industry.

He holds a master's of business administration degree from Washington University and a bachelor's degree in modern languages from the University of Notre Dame.

St. John's, located on Airport Highway in southwest Toledo, is a high school with grades 9-12 and an academy with grades 6-8.

At Cardinal Newman, Mr. Truesdell grew enrollment by 61 percent at a time when enrollment at peer institutions was declining. He said much of that growth came from the conversion of Newman from a boys' school to co-ed and following the closure of a Catholic girls' school.

Under Mr. Truesdell's leadership, the diocesan high school's endowment grew during a capital campaign from $400,000 to $2.6 million to support tuition assistance and capital improvements.

“We are thrilled that Mr. Truesdell is joining our team,” said Kurt Miller, chairman of the St. John's board of trustees. “He is a well-qualified, experienced executive with deep Catholic roots and is familiar with Jesuit education, ensuring he will model and promote the clear mission and identity of a Jesuit institution.”

The school president oversees all aspects of the school with an emphasis on the long-range vision, development, external relations, and business operations, while the principal oversees day-to-day school operations.

Mr. Truesdell helped Cardinal Newman implement this model, which St. John's in Toledo has had since it opened on Airport Highway in 1965. He said he modeled some of the policies at Newman on the San Francisco Jesuit high school attended by his son.

“I am truly honored to be a part of the finest of Catholic education represented by the Jesuits,” Mr. Truesdell said.

"The Jesuits do a marvelous job allowing young people to grow, to think, to question, to find themselves. They challenge thoroughly and I think it's a wonderful education," he said.

He said he will move here and will be joined by his wife, Sheila Truesdell, who is a teacher, once they sell their California home.

Contact Tom Troy at tomtroy@theblade.com or 419-724-6058.