JSerra Catholic High School Announces New Director of Institutional Advancement

Peggy Larson*A press release from JSerra Catholic High School

JSerra Catholic High School announces Peggy Larson, of Laguna Beach, as the director of institutional advancement. Larson formerly served as vice president of business development for a national nonprofit dedicated to finding a cure for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.

Bringing over 22 years of fundraising and leadership experience, Larson will play an integral role within JSerra’s Office of Advancement.

“We are delighted to have Ms. Larson join JSerra to take the helm as our director of institutional advancement,” said Rich Meyer, JSerra Headmaster.  “The experience and knowledge she brings to our team will serve to continue to build on JSerra’s tradition of excellence.”

Graduating Cum Laude from the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee with a Bachelors degree in Journalism and Mass Communication, Larson also holds certifications in leadership from the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business and Cardinal Stritch University. Having served as the chief development officer and vice president of communications at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee, Larson secured over $85M in endowments and gifts towards the Perfect Match and Decade of Hope Campaigns.

Larson will lead the development of JSerra’s advancement and marketing initiatives including annual giving, alumni relations, marketing and strategic leadership.

“I’m honored to be a part of the JSerra community and am inspired by all that has been accomplished in the last 10 years,” said Larson.  “JSerra’s reputation for educational excellence is a testament to the commitment of its teachers, staff, parents and supporters.  I look forward to bringing a creative and bold approach to raising awareness and funds so, ultimately, our students are given every opportunity to achieve their potential.”

A Message from President Richard Meyer

Dear JSerra Parents,

The events of the past four days have left me feeling as if I have died and found a little slice of heaven on earth here at JSerra. Perhaps it’s the tremendous weather.  Perhaps it’s the dedicated staff.  Perhaps it’s the cheerful students.  Perhaps it’s the supportive and welcoming parents.  Whatever the root cause may be, it is a privilege and honor to serve you as the President of JSerra.

Allow me to provide you with a little of my background.  My undergraduate degree is in Speech Communication from the University of Illinois.  After spending time in sales in the corporate environment, I decided to return to graduate school and received a masters in English education.  That was followed by a move to Spain to teach at an all-boys school near Granada.

Upon my return to the States, I completed a masters in Spanish language and literature at Middlebury College in Vermont.  I taught for roughly eight years in two public schools similar in scope and size to JSerra in the suburbs of Chicago while attaining my credentials in educational administration.  Immediately prior to joining JSerra, I spent the last six years as the Headmaster of Northridge Prep.

On the personal side, I have the fortune of being married to a wonderful woman, Anne, with whom I have seven children. Our eldest, Katherine, looks forward to becoming a sophomore Lion when my family joins me in June.  Until then, I will be commuting home on the weekends in preparation for our permanent move to California.

I would be remiss if I failed to mention in this letter of introduction what most attracted me to JSerra.  As I began in earnest the search for my next school leadership opportunity this past summer, I cast my sights to the four corners of the country.  (Truth be told I was thinking “the world” but my wife limited me to the 48 continental United States.)

What this process revealed to me was that there are very few schools in America, perhaps less than a handful, with whose mission I so closely identify as that of JSerra, both on a professional and personal level.  The notion of an authentically Catholic yet warmly ecumenical learning environment that seeks to promote objective truths for the benefit of students from a variety of faith backgrounds is entirely unique.

This was in evidence today as I witnessed over 1,000 of our students participate in a Eucharistic procession on campus in celebration of the Feast of All Saints.  Make no mistake, what also attracted me to JSerra was the vision of offering top-notch academic and extracurricular programs within this framework, thus providing an integral education to our young men and women that enriches them as much spiritually as it does intellectually, physically, and emotionally.

I look forward to getting to know as many of you as possible in the coming weeks and months and ask that you keep me in your prayers during this time of transition.  Should you find yourself on campus, stop by and introduce yourself — my door is open.

Warmest regards,

Richard T. Meyer


JSerra Catholic High School Appoints Richard Meyer as President and CEO

*A press release from JSerra Catholic High School

JSerra Catholic High School announced today the appointment of its new President, Richard Meyer, former Headmaster of Northridge Preparatory School in Chicago, Illinois.

A graduate of the University of Illinois with a bachelor’s degree in communications and master’s degrees in education and Spanish language and literature, Meyer brings 15 years of academic experience and leadership to the JSerra community.

The hiring of Meyer, coupled with the recent appointments of Dr. John Freeh as Principal and Fr. Robert Spitzer, the former President of Gonzaga University, as JSerra Rector, provides the school with a solid core of experienced educators and institutional leaders.

“What most attracted me to JSerra was the opportunity to lead a school with a culture-changing mission while working in collaboration with an impressive core of teachers, administrators, students, and parents,” said Meyer. “JSerra also encourages the cultivation of its students’ faith and their spirit of service is something I found especially inspiring.”

Throughout his career as an educator Meyer has received numerous distinctions, including the Disney American Teacher Award and the Best Buy Te@ch Award for innovative teaching methods.  Meyer has also presented at both national and international conferences on topics relating to successfully integrating tablet technology for student achievement in the classroom and beyond.

During his tenure as Headmaster of Northridge Prep, Meyer was instrumental in overhauling the school’s technology infrastructure and creating an international student program to enhance diversity in the school.  He also led the school’s recent strategic planning process and helped to develop a parent education forum to assist mothers and fathers in their efforts to form habits and human virtues in their children.

“We are pleased to bring Rich in as part of the JSerra community, especially as relates to his proven leadership in the areas of Catholic identity, academic excellence, and top-notch athletic and extracurricular activities. I look forward to welcoming him as our new president,” said Tim Busch, JSerra Chairman and Co-Founder.

Meyer is set to begin his presidential duties on October 29, 2012. JSerra Catholic has formed a transitional council of three directors to assist Meyer in beginning his role as part of JSerra’s leadership team.  JSerra extends its sincere and profound gratitude to Rob Dolan who has served as Interim President since June.