St. Mary’s Head of School Grace Cotter Regan will leave the school to take over as president at Boston College High School, an institution to which she has ties dating back more than 50 years.
“It is with mixed emotions that I accepted this position,” said Regan, who will remain at St. Mary’s while the school implements a transition plan this fall. “I am thoroughly happy and fulfilled at St. Mary’s, and will be forever grateful to the St. Mary’s community for welcoming and accepting me as one of their own.
“St. Mary’s is a special place, blessed to have the support of alumni and a board who are truly passionate about the school. I have been given an amazing opportunity to lead the school where my father created an indelible legacy.”
Regan’s father, Jim Cotter, graduated from BC High in 1955 and worked there 41 years as a teacher, guidance counselor, football coach and athletic director. The football field at the school is named for Cotter, whose first day of work at the school was Sept. 8, 1960, the day Regan was born. Her son, Bartley, is a 2012 graduate.
Regan came to St. Mary’s in 2012, succeeding Dr. Raymond A. Bastarache ’65, the first head of school under the current governance structure, which was implemented in 2006. Accomplishments under her leadership include: the implementation of STEM programming and a robotics team; a 10-year accreditation from the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC); enhanced technology and digital citizenship initiative; overseeing the Building Futures campaign, which has raised almost $15 million for a new STEM building and increased scholarships; introducing the St. Mary’s Pillars for Success – Catholic, Excellence, Integrity and Respect; and developing an enhanced civic partnership with the Lynn community.
“We are deeply grateful for the tireless and effective leadership Grace brought to St. Mary’s for the last five years,” said William Mosakowski, chair of the board of trustees. “Thanks to her great work, in partnership with dedicated and talented faculty and students, as well as parents, the board and benefactors, we are well positioned to continue to be a leader in Catholic education on the North Shore.”
Mosakowski said while the school is disappointed to lose Regan, it is understandable that she would be attracted to the BC High position.
“We are well aware of Grace’s family ties to BC High,” he said. “When they came calling, it was impossible for her not to accept. We take pride in the fact that the work she did here made her the candidate of choice for BC High, and we wish her nothing but the best.”
Mosakowski said that over the coming months the St. Mary’s board will form a transition committee that will be charged with formulating a search and selection process, which will include identifying the qualities the school will be looking for in its next leader. The plan is to have a new head of school in place by the start of the 2018-19 school year.
“We are fortunate to have an immensely talented staff and engaged board, which will ensure a seamless transition,” Mosakowski said. “We are in a good position and we will find another great leader.”
Rev. Brian Flynn, pastor of the Lynn Catholic Collaborative that includes St. Mary’s and Sacred Heart parishes, said the relationship between the parish and school has flourished under Regan.
“Grace has been a valued partner in our combined ministry,” Rev. Flynn said. “The school and the parish enjoy a symbiotic relationship, which is beneficial to all. We will miss her.”
Regan is a Boston College graduate who holds master’s degrees in education from the University of Vermont and Pastoral Ministry and Spirituality from BC, as well as a certificate in Catholic Leadership Development from the University of Notre Dame. Prior to coming to St. Mary’s she served as executive director of advancement for the New England Province of Jesuits for seven years.
She also previously served as executive director of the Boston College Alumni Association, vice president of development for the Boston Public Library and in the development office at the College of the Holy Cross.
The BC High search process encompassed 18 months and started with more than 400 candidates. Regan was the search committee’s unanimous choice among the five finalists.
“I’m very proud of the progress we have made at St. Mary’s,” she said. “I have drawn my inspiration from the amazing faculty and staff and talented students. I will leave knowing the school is on rock-solid footing moving forward. I feel blessed to have been given the opportunity to lead this wonderful institution.”
Regan and her husband, Bernie, live in West Roxbury with their sons, Luke and Bartley.