President Search

Prospectus for the Position of President of Holy Cross Academy

Holy Cross President SearchThe President of Holy Cross Academy serves as the Chief Executive Officer and spiritual leader and has overall responsibility for the management of the Academy. While the President forms, leads and supervises the executive administration team that is responsible for the academic and faith formation program, the position actively encourages, supports, engages in the areas of evangelization and faith formation, while directly leading the Academy in the areas of finance, advancement, marketing, enrollment, and related business affairs.


About Holy Cross Academy

President Search Holy Cross Academy is a unique Catholic elementary school supported by five parishes in the Archdiocese of St. Louis. In 2012, HCA formed to serve the students of Annunciation, Our Lady of Providence, Seven Holy Founders, and St. Michael the Archangel parishes. At that time, all four parishes realized that their independent schools were not sustainable because of the cost to the parish to run the school. By joining together, they shared resources and created an innovative model with two preschool / elementary campuses and a middle school. In 2015, St. Dominic Savio parish decided to close its school and merge with HCA, opening the third preschool / elementary campus. The five parishes have operated as one Academy since the fall of 2016. In 2018, St. Dominic Savio and St. George parishes merged to become St. John Paull II.

Beginning in the fall of 2020, Holy Cross Academy replicated the success of its middle school across the entire Academy. We opened an Early Childhood Education campus located at St. John Paul II, a Primary campus located at St. Michael the Archangel, and an Intermediate campus at Our Lady of Providence. The new structure allows each parish to serve the entire student body of the Academy, with age-appropriate resources and curriculum, enhanced collaboration for faculty, and a school schedule that matches how students of different ages best learn. The new structure allows HCA to offer an innovative, affordable, and individualized Catholic education to each and every student.

Holy Cross Academy, under the leadership of its five pastors, administration, and board of directors, aspires to preserve the spirit of the Academy through stability and fiscal responsibility for decades to come. We will continue to center our programming upon the Person of Jesus Christ and the traditions of the Catholic faith. We commit to offering a leading educational experience that meets the learner where he or she is, using modern resources and best practices backed by data. We aspire to offer reasonable tuition with multi-student discounts to encourage families to choose Catholic education, while also providing living wages and benefits to our employees. Holy Cross Academy hopes to offer year-round programming for families in the next few years, And we are committed to leveraging our school system to promote Faith Formation for all ages. Holy Cross Academy will promote a unified identity for our five parishes that recognizes and shares the best attributes of each.

Mission Statement

Our mission is to provide the highest quality academic and faith formation program where each student develops spiritually, intellectually, and socially. Rooted in the Person of Jesus Christ and in the Catholic tradition, we strive to prepare our students to live a faith-filled life.

Core Values

Faith Formation: At the foundation of the Catholic faith is the call to evangelization: ‘to make disciples for the Lord’. Informed by Sacred Scripture and Tradition, nurtured and lived through prayer and deed, Holy Cross Academy exists to support parents in their Christian duty to form and nurture their children as lifelong Catholics. In all that it does, Holy Cross Academy strives to purposefully provide opportunities for all students and families to grow in faith.

Academic Excellence: Every child at Holy Cross Academy is given the opportunity to experience academic success. Academic resources and engaging teaching strategies are combined to provide students with classroom environments that are challenging yet nurturing. Our teachers work in Professional Learning Communities to develop assessments that they can use to identify which students need more support or more challenging assignments. They measure student achievement using Standards Based Grading.

Community: We are many parts, we are all One Body. Holy Cross Academy is a community of learners, ministers and servants. To help students grow in their personal relationships with Christ, doctrinal instruction, meaningful liturgies and service opportunities come together to create a united community of faith. Our Community is diverse, and we celebrate the uniqueness of the five parishes and the individuals within them as well as our school families who are members of other parishes or who do not affiliate with a parish.

Social Justice: Holy Cross Academy upholds the Church’s special regard for the poor, ostracized and the weak. Academy curricula incorporate this mission through service opportunities, reflection and academic instruction.

Stewardship: Holy Cross Academy students are stewards of the world around them. Students learn the importance of voluntarily giving of their time, talents and treasure so as to fully grasp the meaning of being “good stewards of the earth and each other.”

Governing Structure

President Search As a Catholic school within the Archdiocese of Saint Louis, Holy Cross Academy is ultimately governed by the Archbishop. Any major decisions must meet his approval.

From him, authority flows to the five pastors of the supporting parishes. One pastor is designated by the Archbishop as the Designated Pastor for the Academy. The Designated Pastor and the President represent the daily governing authority of the Academy. The President must work closely with the five pastors when making strategic decisions about the Academy.

The President acts as the faith leader of the Academy, a living example of the mission of the Catholic Church who can lead the administration of the school and represent the living word of God. The President also serves as the Chief Executive Officer and Chief Operating Officer, charged with maintaining the Academy’s near-term and long-term viability and sustainability. The President serves as the “public face” of the Academy for the supporting parish communities and the greater St. Louis area. The President must seek counsel from a Board of Directors comprised of members of the supporting parishes, chosen by the pastors, to bring guidance in various areas. While the Board does hold fiduciary jurisdiction, it is primarily an advisory board established to make recommendations for consideration of the President and pastors.

Currently, the Designated Pastor serves as the acting President for the Academy. Additionally, there are four building administrators: two principals, an academic dean and an early childhood director who, as a administrative team, are tasked with leading the instructional practices for the Academy. The new President will be responsible for developing the titles and responsibilities of the campus leaders moving into the 2021-2022 academic year.


President SearchHoly Cross Academy offers a curriculum, consistent and unified throughout the entire Academy, that will emphasize not only the basic elements of what is considered “quality” education - basic literacy in mathematics and science, appreciation of literature, good grammar skills, and a grasp of our nation’s history - but also what is expected of productive citizens in the 21st century. Such skills as high level critical thinking, problem solving, creativity, teamwork, and leadership are hallmarks of the Holy Cross Academy educational program.

Beginning in the Fall of 2020, Holy Cross Academy significantly changed the structure of the campuses. The pastors identified a need to reestablish a balanced budget for the Academy after enduring three years of operating with a budget deficit. Dedicated to this principle and seeking to keep each current campus open, a Structure Committee worked for several months to devise a new model that allows for better financial sustainability and greater opportunities for learning.

The St. John Paul II campus operates as the Early Childhood Education Campus of Holy Cross Academy. All year-round care and offerings for young learners through pre-kindergarten will be offered at the JP2 campus. This campus is centrally located, and its footprint is perfect for young children.

St. Michael the Archangel serves as the Primary Campus for kindergarten through second grades. This campus has a smaller footprint that is ideal for young learners, with a playground, indoor gym, and dedicated library and art spaces.

All third through fifth grade students attend the Intermediate Campus at Our Lady of Providence. This campus offers an attached gym, a large outdoor field for PE and recreation, including an outdoor classroom and garden, and space for a science lab.

Annunciation continues as the Middle School Campus for all sixth through eighth grade classes. It houses our STREAM lab, a stage for music and theatre productions inside the gymnasium, outdoor spaces for learning and recreation, and a large art space that our students use for many of our electives.

This model enables the Academy to focus resources and encourage collaboration by grade level, while more nimbly addressing needs and fluctuating class sizes. Ultimately, this will reduce our overhead costs so we can invest more resources in expanded academic programming.

These changes will position our school to better reach and serve all students, and though it will take some time for us to fully realize the potential of this model, some benefits can be realized in the immediate future including:

  • Social and academic benefits of bringing together all students of the same age, including more individualization of academic offerings to reach all learners, increased faculty collaboration and balanced class sizes.
  • Investment in enhancements to the academic programming, especially to provide better services to exceptional learners at both ends of the ability continuum.
  • Minimize tuition increases.
  • Early Childhood tuition discounts for parishioners and families with students in elementary school.
  • Flexibility to respond to personnel needs as enrollment changes.

Responsibilities and Opportunities for the President

As the spiritual leader, CEO and spokesperson of the Academy, the next President will be expected to address the following:

  1. Successfully lead an executive administrative team who will:
    • build a faculty and school community that grows in its understanding of the Academy’s mission to evangelize-- to make disciples for the Lord--of its very own students and families.
    • continue to develop and achieve excellence in its disciplines of academics and faith formation.
  2. Ensure financial sustainability and viability through fiscal management, significant development efforts, and enhanced enrollment.
  3. Promote a lasting and attractive image of the Academy in the Saint Louis area through strategic marketing efforts and effective communication both within the Academy and greater community.
  4. Maintain current philanthropic and business partnerships while seeking out new connections within the community.
  5. Foster a meaningful school community that unites the parish communities served as contributors to and supporters of Holy Cross Academy.
  6. Develop academy-wide leadership development with assistance from the Administration.
  7. Preserve the collaborative and innovative traditions of the Academy, ensuring that the educational and faith formation programming meets the needs of all students in conjunction with the Administration.
  8. With the Chairperson of the Board and the Designated Pastor, lead the Board of Directors in discussing overarching policies that enhance the programmatic and financial success of HCA.

Who is the Ideal Candidate?

As a facilitator of interpersonal connections, the next President will engage, parents, parishioners, benefactors, friends, and all constituents as stakeholders, stewarding the values of Holy Cross Academy.

  • A practicing Catholic who has an understanding and energy for the Church’s fundamental mission of evangelization, “to make disciples for the Lord”, and values Catholic education and faith formation for families.
  • A strategic thinker who envisions Holy Cross Academy’s future and energizes the community to realize it.
  • A fundraiser who will build institutional capacity by securing resources made available through development and partnerships and will continue to expand a tradition of philanthropic support.
  • A collaborative leader who will engage the Board of Directors, administration and school staff, the various constituents of the supporting parishes, parents, and community leaders to boldly and courageously position the school for the future.
  • A professional who will partner with the administrative team to enhance the educational mission of the school by attracting and retaining outstanding faculty and staff.
  • A skilled financial practitioner whose understanding of fiscal management practices promotes academic programs of excellence according to budget.
  • A practiced leader in a business and/or finance field with a minimum of a master’s degree in a business or related field is required. A degree in the area of education and/or faith formation is appreciated though not required.

All interested candidates should submit the following materials electronically to Megan Connelly, Board Chairperson, at Only those applications with all materials will be considered complete. Please direct any questions to Fr. Mike Esswein at 314-962-5955.

  • Current CV
  • One Page Statement of Leadership Philosophy
  • Pastor Letter of Reference
  • College transcripts
  • Three Professional References