New Governance Model Announced

TRUMBULL—Bishop Frank J. Caggiano has announced a new governance model for St. Joseph High School in Trumbull, including a new nine member Board of Directors.

“The new governance model is a major step forward as we work to redesign our schools and plan for the future,” said Bishop Caggiano. “The model will help to promote investment and innovation, and contribute to the overall transformation of Catholic education in our diocese.”

The bishop said that although the majority of new directors currently serve on the school’s Advisory Board of Directors, the change in governance represents a major change relative to the authority of the board.

“Given the strong Catholic school background of the individual directors, and their collective success in managing this excellent school, we have only the highest expectations for St. Joseph High School’s future. The board has presented a strong strategic plan for the next five years. I am very grateful for their service and confident in their leadership,” the bishop said.

The Board of Directors will assume their new level of responsibility for St. Joseph High School on July 1, 2017.

William Fitzgerald PhD, president of St. Joseph High School said the major advantage of this shift in governance “will be seen in our ability to quickly and effectively respond to trends and initiatives in Catholic college preparatory education. Most constituents in the school will not notice a change, as the current Advisory Board has been exceptionally responsible in guiding St. Joseph High School. We are mission driven, fiscally sound, fully enrolled, and highly regarded by colleges and universities.”

Under the new structure, the diocese will reserve certain privileges, such as approval of the members of the Board of Directors, guardianship of the school’s Catholic mission, and ownership of the property. Day-to-day management of the school, its administration, operational budgets, and facility maintenance will transition to the Board of Directors.

Dr. Fitzgerald said that the transition to a self-governing institution under the auspices of the Diocese of Bridgeport is an outcome of the nearly two-year vitality and viability study of the thirty-one schools of the diocese led by Bishop Caggiano and diocesan education officials.

The new directors of the board are:

Chair Christopher Wilson, a senior partner of Stonehill Capital, is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame, where he serves on the board of the Wilson-Sheehan Lab for Economic Opportunities. He and his wife Lorraine are members of St. Jude Parish in Monroe. Their three children graduated from St. Joseph High School.

Brian Bellows, recently retired as national vice president for client development for United Healthcare, is a graduate of Fairfield University. He and his wife Brenda are members of St. Catherine of Sienna Parish in Trumbull. Their two daughters graduated from St. Joseph High School.

Dr. Steven Cheeseman, ex officio, is the superintendent of schools for the Diocese of Bridgeport. Dr. Cheeseman was associate superintendent for the Diocese of Rockville Centre, and holds a doctorate in educational leadership and technology. Dr. Cheeseman, his wife Danielle, and their three children are parishioners of St. Catherine of Sienna in Trumbull.

Attorney John Gschwind is the vice president, legal and general counsel, and corporate secretary for Rexel USA. A graduate of the University of Notre Dame, he serves on the Executive Advisory Board of the university’s Center for Ethics and Culture. He and his wife Katherine saw their son through St. Joseph High School, and are parish members of St. Patrick Church in Redding.

Father Michael Jones is pastor of St. Lawrence Parish in Shelton. He is a graduate of Dartmouth College, and holds a doctorate in sacred theology from Rome. He is the episcopal vicar for the Diocese of Bridgeport’s Development Office.

Andrea Maldon, CPA, is an alumna of St Joseph High School, and a St. Joe’s parent. She is a managing director at Lone Pine Capital, and a graduate of Fordham University. She and her husband Jonathan are members of St. Thomas Aquinas Parish in Fairfield.

Patrick O’Keefe is vice president of engineering and manufacturing for O’Keefe Controls, and a graduate of Fairfield University. The members of the O’Keefe family have been strong supporters of Catholic education, with their children having graduated from diocesan schools. He and his wife Karen are members of St. Jude Parish in Monroe.

Deacon Patrick Toole has held several senior positions at IBM, and is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame. He and his wife Lyndy currently serve St. Catherine of Sienna Parish in Trumbull. Their daughter is an alumna of St. Joseph.

James Woods, CPA, is the managing member of Venman & Co. LLC., and a graduate of Villanova University. Jim and his wife Chris are members of St. Lawrence Parish in Shelton. Their three daughters graduated from St Joseph High School.

Christopher Wilson, chair of the new St. Joseph High School Board, said the Catholic mission and focus of the school will not change, but “The enhanced site-based autonomy will allow St. Joseph High School to act responsively and vigorously in an accelerating college prep marketplace. The students will be the biggest beneficiaries.” St. Joseph High School is the largest Catholic high school in the diocese, enrolling approximately 800 students. The school was opened in 1962 by Bishop Walter Curtis and has long been recognized as an outstanding Catholic college preparatory school in southern Connecticut.