Saint Xavier High School in Louisville names new president

Paul Colistra brings lifetime commitment to Catholic education to post
Paul Colistra

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — With more than 13 years of experience in Catholic school leadership, Paul Colistra will begin his tenure as president of Saint Xavier High School on July 1, 2020.

“With deep gratitude and great excitement, my family and I look forward to building our lives in Louisville and supporting this historic school in its mission” said Colistra.

Colistra comes to St. X after eight years at West Catholic Preparatory High School in Philadelphia where he has served as president since 2016. While at West Catholic Prep, he led a total transformation of a once struggling school to a thriving inner-city high school recognized for its diversity and rigorous academic program. Prior to West Catholic Prep, Colistra served in the administration of La Salle College High School in Wyndmoor, Penn.

“We are most impressed by Paul’s commitment to our school’s mission, appreciation of the importance of our Catholic identity and Xaverian values to our community, and proven dedication to academic excellence,” said Kevin Smith, chair of the St. X Board of Directors. “We are confident Paul has the vision, leadership experience, and strategic acumen that we were seeking in the next president. Paul is prepared to lead our 155-year-old school well into the future.”

Colistra will serve as the first president since Dr. Perry Sangalli, who led St. X for 19 years until his death in May 2019.

The search for a new school leader began in earnest in late May. An ad-hoc committee of the board named a 10-member search committee and selected a national search firm to guide the process. Prior to finalizing the position description, input was sought and received from more than 2,500 members of the St. X community through individual and group meetings, surveys, and a workshop.

Colistra, along with other finalists, visited with members of the school community in January, including students, faculty, senior leadership, alumni, board members and parents. Colistra was selected from more than 100 candidates.

“I was most impressed with how passionately the St. X community approached this entire process. It was a signal to me that the entire community takes very seriously its mission to ‘engage young men in rigorous academic programs and extracurricular activities that foster respect, honor and service to God’s world.’” Colistra said.

“This process,” Smith explained, “gave us the framework to identify the ideal candidate: a dynamic, spiritual, visionary and gifted leader who can ensure the school embodies and practices the Xaverian values of zeal, humility, compassion, trust and simplicity.

“We feel we have found such a person in Paul Colistra.”

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