April 18, 2018 — Father Stephen A. Privett, SJ, has been named the next president of Verbum Dei High School in South Central Los Angeles. Fr. Privett will lead the Catholic boys high school that has been providing its students with a rigorous college prep curriculum for more than five decades.
“We are delighted to welcome Fr. Steve Privett as the new president of Verbum Dei High School,” said Scott Wendelin, chairman of the board of Verbum Dei. “Fr. Privett brings extensive experience in leadership roles at premier Jesuit educational institutions, including the University of San Francisco, where he most recently served as president. He has outstanding academic credentials with a demonstrated track record of success in effectively leading academic institutions through periods of significant growth and change. As a Jesuit and an educator, Fr. Privett is passionate about Verbum Dei’s mission and values.”
“I am deeply honored by the board’s confidence in me, and I am very excited about the opportunity to work with the entire Verbum Dei community as we transition to a private, Jesuit school and one of the leading college preparatory schools in Southern California,” said Fr. Privett. “The next chapter will be an exciting one filled with new opportunities for our faculty and staff, our students and families, and our community.”
As the school transitions from a Los Angeles Archdiocesan school to a private, Jesuit school, Verbum Dei is focused on aligning its mission with the Jesuit mission of preparing young men for college and productive lives by delivering a superb academic education and, at the same time, inspiring students to embrace spirituality, scholarship, service and leadership. Plans call for expanding and enhancing academic programs and increasing enrollment to serve more students, enhancing Verbum Dei’s impact on the community it serves. Verbum Dei will continue to be part of the Cristo Rey Network of schools and maintain its work-study program, which has had an immeasurable impact on students.
Previously, Fr. Privett served as president and later chancellor of the University of San Francisco; principal of Bellarmine College Preparatory School in San Jose, California; and provost and vice president of academic affairs at Santa Clara University. He is a graduate of Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington, and earned a master’s degree in divinity at the Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley, California, and a Ph.D. in catechetics at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.
Fr. Privett succeeds Father Michael Mandala, SJ, as president. “Fr. Mike Mandala has been a dedicated president and educator,” said Wendelin. “His tenure is marked by many success stories. In 2017, 100 percent of Verbum Dei graduates were accepted to leading colleges, including many of the most prestigious universities in the country, and our work study program sponsors increased to include nearly 100 companies, including many of the most prominent corporations and professional services firms in Los Angeles. We want to thank Fr. Mike for his many contributions to Verbum Dei.” [Source: Jesuits West]