St. Mary’s Names New Head of School

Grace Cotter Regan

Grace Cotter Regan has been named head of school at St. Mary’s High School, replacing Dr. Raymond A. Bastarache, who is retiring in June.

Regan has almost 30 years’ experience working in education and institutional advancement, including 23 years at Catholic institutions. She has served as executive director of advancement for the New England Province of Jesuits since 2005, responsible for advancement strategic planning and fundraising throughout the province.

Regan is also a partner in Partners in Mission, a Westwood-based consulting firm focused on developing excellence in advancement and leadership in Catholic schools, dioceses, religious congregations and parishes.

“Given Grace’s credentials and experience in mission-driven Catholic organizations, we believe she has the ability and the passion to chart a course for St. Mary’s that ensures our continued growth, our academic trajectory of excellence and our valued place as the jewel in the crown of the Archdiocese’s Catholic schools,” said Board Chair Jack King, who led the search committee.  “Grace was the unanimous choice of the committee among several very well qualified candidates.”

“I am both humbled and honored to become part of the St. Mary’s family,” said Regan. “It has always been my life goal to lead an institution and, personally, I love the middle- and high-school experience, being around energetic, young minds and talented teachers. St. Mary’s is blessed with a long legacy and commitment to academic excellence, Catholic identity and a co-curricular environment. I was immediately drawn to the school’s mission, which embodies a faith that does justice and serves young men and women for others, the Church, the community of Lynn and the surrounding communities. I look forward to being inspired and to sharing my gifts as a steward and a strategic partner as we work together to advance the mission of St. Mary’s.”

Earlier in her career, Regan served as development director at her alma mater, Notre Dame Academy in Hingham, and Mount Alvernia Academy in Chestnut Hill, as well as assistant director of the annual find at Simmons College. She served as executive director of the Boston College Alumni Association from 2000-2005, managing a network of 150,000 alumni. Prior to that, Regan worked as vice president for development for the Boston Public Library Foundation and in the development office at the College of the Holy Cross.

A 1982 graduate of Boston College, Regan earned a master’s in Pastoral Ministry and Spirituality from the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry, a master’s in education from the University of Vermont and a certificate in Catholic Leadership from the University of Notre Dame.

She is the president of the board of directors of Compassionate Care ALS and national chair of the U.S. Province Jesuit Advancement Directors.

Catholic education has always played a central role in Regan’s life, as her father, Jim, was the legendary football coach and athletic director at Boston College High School for 40 years. Jim Cotter was a BC classmate of Bill Connell, a 1955 St. Mary’s graduate who donated $5 million to the school upon his death in 2001 and for whom the school’s Connell Center is named.

Regan and her husband, Bernie, have two sons: Luke, a junior at Bowdoin College, and Bartley, a senior at B.C. High. The family resides in West Roxbury.

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