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Carondelet gets first male principal

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placeholder April 20, 2015   •   VOL. 53, NO. 8   •   Oakland, CA

The leadership team at Carondelet High School includes, back row, from left, Janet Wilks, director of development; Jessica Mix, assistant principal; Debbie Santos, director of finance; front row, Charo Albarran, director of human resources; Rosanne Siino, director of communications (and her dog Tatis); Bonnie Cotter, president; Kevin Cushing, incoming principal; and Pamela Seto, assistant principal.

courtesy photo

Carondelet gets 1st male principal

Kevin Cushing is not a man who was looking for change. His 27 years of dedicated service at Bishop O'Dowd High School stand as a testament to that.

But change comes July 1, when he becomes principal of Carondelet High School in Concord.

It's a change for Carondelet as well. It's the first time in 50 years that the principal of the all-girls school will be called "Mr."

"I'm excited about it," Cushing said, adding it was "not my goal to be a principal."

For the past eight years, Cushing has served as Bishop O'Dowd's assistant principal, supervising and collaborating with faculty and staff on academics, athletics, extracurricular programs and student mentorship and discipline, all while continuing to teach classes in English literature.

But three years ago, as part of the Western Catholic Education Association/Western Association of Schools and Colleges evaluation team that renewed Carondelet's six-year accreditation, Cushing became familiar with Carondelet.

"I fell in love with the place," he said simply.

The "incredible spirit among the girls, and a dedicated faculty and staff" impressed him. He also sensed an opportunity for growth there, particularly working within the network of schools in the Sisters of St. Joseph network.

He also was impressed with the school's "most amazing service program," noting that the imposition of a service learning requirement over the past decade had been a big change in "helping students look outward" at Bishop O'Dowd High School.

At Carondelet, there is no service learning requirement. Nevertheless, "90 percent of the girls volunteer over 100 hours of service," he said.

School President Bonnie Cotter made the announcement March 30. "Kevin is ... a true educator and an inspiring leader who is deeply passionate about our mission and who is rooted in faith and a commitment to Catholic schools.

Cushing is the father of a daughter in the eighth grade and a son in fifth grade. She'll be the first person in Carondelet's 50-year history who will call the principal, "Dad."

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