by Cori Hilsgen
Fr. Jonathan Licari, OSB, has been chosen as the next headmaster for St. John’s Prep school.
The Board of Regents recently announced the selection of Licari whose appointment begins July 1.
Licari is currently the sub-prior of St. John’s Abbey. He was ordained a priest in 1976 and professed vows in 1982. He will replace Fr. Timothy Backous, OSB, who is the current headmaster. Backous is finishing his second term and will move to a new career in the health industry.
Licari holds doctorate degrees in philosophy and canon law. He taught at St. John’s School of Theology Seminary from 1982-2001.
Licari previously served as prior to the monastery and as pastor at St. John the Baptist Parish in Collegeville, Holy Name Parish in Medina and Seven Dolors Parish in Albany.
Several other monks had indicated an interest, but Licari’s application was given first consideration because the corporation has a Benedictine hiring preference.
Licari’s teaching experience, years of administration and leadership in the abbey and parishes, a solid dedication to education excellence and fundraising skills made him a strong candidate for the new position.
Ryan Gerads, search-committee chair, said the committee felt Licari has the talents and enthusiasm necessary for the headmaster position.
“Fr. Jonathan has demonstrated strong character and leadership in previous administrative positions,” Gerads said. “I am confident Fr. Jonathan is the best candidate to lead St. John’s Prep into the future.
Licari is grateful for the appointment.
“I am grateful for the opportunity to be a part of a long tradition of excellence in education, in the Catholic Benedictine tradition, at St. John’s Prep,” Licari said.
The headmaster is the CEO of the prep school and is in charge of educational policies, fundraising, program development and financial supervision. He also helps shape and run the Board of Regents and is the primary liaison between the abbey and the school.
The headmaster usually serves a four-your term with a possibility of renewal.
Marti Jacobs, director of communications and events, said the role of headmaster has always been a Benedictine.
“Fr. Jonathan is set to lead a school that finds itself poised for continued growth, which builds on the success of the new international baccalaureate program, the state-of-the-art facility for music and middle school, a global and vibrant community, a strong vision for the future evidenced by the strategic plan and a campus it shares with the abbey and university that is 2,700 acres of woods and lakes,” Jacobs said.
The co-educational St. John’s Preparatory School was founded in 1857. It’s a Catholic Benedictine college prepatory school that serves students in grades 6-12, with boarding options beginning in the ninth grade.