DePaul Prep names school president
by CYRYL JAKUBOWSKI
DePaul Prep High School principal Dr. James Quaid also will serve as the president of the school, which formerly was known as Gordon Tech High School.
Quaid recently was appointed both principal and president of the school by the DePaul Prep High School board of directors. Quaid will direct the changes in curriculum and expansion of the 62-year-old school mandated by the Congregation of the Resurrection, which is made up of Roman Catholic priests, brothers and seminarians who founded Gordon Tech and other Chicago-area schools.
Quaid has 34 years of experience in educational leadership and academics, according to a statement by the school. He has served on Catholic school boards, university boards, the High School Leadership Council of the Archdiocese of Chicago and the Illinois High School Association Board, according to the statement.
Quaid said that he is looking forward to the coming school year as the first day of school was held on Aug. 18. He said that the school’s enrollment will be about 512 students and that the school has hired six new teachers for this year after hiring 13 teachers last year.
"We want to build a stronger school that is based in a Catholic tradition so that it can serve the public," Quaid said. "You have a lot of people who want to make sure that the students have options."
For the past year as principal Quaid has worked with DePaul University, which has formed an academic partnership with the school. Quaid said that he is excited that the school is working with the university because it can use its resources to educate its students.
"Dr. Quaid’s stellar record of academic excellence, along with his leadership skills, stood out to us all, and we are honored to have him serve in this capacity at DePaul College Prep," Congregation of the Resurrection provincial superior the Reverend Gene Szarek said. "He is uniquely qualified to propel the school academically, spiritually and athletically for our current and future students."
"Dr. Quaid is a highly respected academic leader and example for our existing and future students," DePaul board of directors chairwoman Mary Dempsey said. "His record of achievement and his passion for academics and especially for excellence in Catholic education inspire those around him. Through his leadership, DePaul College Prep will continue to grow and serve the needs of Chicago’s families who seek a welcoming, well rounded, Catholic and vibrantly academic high school option for their children."
Quaid said that the high school’s partnership with DePaul University offers an exciting opportunity. "We continue to benefit from the support and resources of a great Catholic university, and will have the potential to become a solid model for other secondary schools across the country," he said.
Quaid said that he is most excited about the opening of a new 15,000-square foot "maker space" in a wing of the school which will be will be called the "Steam Lab" for science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics. The wing was gutted and remodeled so that it could open with the new school year.
The lab, which was funded by grants, will offer students the opportunity to design art and other projects through the use of 3D printers and to work with robotics and on other engineering projects. It also will feature a digital media lab.
"It’s an impressive technological space," Quaid said. He said that many classrooms will use the space. Because of its connection to DePaul University, the school also is eligible for the International Baccalaureate Program.
Quaid served as the headmaster of Marmion Academy in Aurora, as an associate superintendent of schools for the Archdiocese of Chicago and as principal of Fenwick High School in Oak Park for 16 years.
He earned bachelor of arts degrees in history and philosophy from Benedictine University, a master’s degree in history from Purdue University, a master’s degree in education from Loyola University and a doctorate in educational leadership, foundations and counseling from Loyola. He also has additional certifications including a nonprofit management endorsement from the Kellogg School at Northwestern University.
Earlier this year the Congregation of the Resurrection decided to change the name of the school to DePaul College Prep, despite opposition from some graduates of the high school. The school, which was founded in 1952, was an all-boys school until it became coeducational in 2002.
"What’s done is done and I have listened to both sides of the issue about changing the name, but we will never forget the legacy of what was done at Gordon Tech," Quaid said. "I have affection for that school, but I’m also excited about the future."
The board also voted to establish a Father Francis Gordon Endowed Scholarship Fund for family members of Gordon Tech graduates, establish a Heritage Committee to maintain the heritage of Gordon Tech and to keep the ram as the school’s mascot.
According to Gordon Tech officials, the name reflects the improvements made at the school and signals a new beginning for the school. Changes made at the school since a partnership was formed with DePaul University in 2012 include upgrading the infrastructure, adding technology and improving academics.
DePaul University was involved in the operation of the now defunct DePaul University Academy, which closed in 1968.
Although the name of the school will change, the campus will be named the Father Gordon Campus.
The school opened in 1952, and it moved to its current location at 3633 N. California Ave. in 1961. It is named after a leader of the congregation and of the Polish community in Chicago in the early 20th Century.