|Michael Deely, left, the new headmaster of Pope John Paul II High School, signs his contract with Bishop David Choby and John Sooker, chair of the board. Deely met with members of the school board and local pastors at Fairvue Plantation during a recent visit to Hendersonville. Deely spent several days visiting the school and meeting with board members, staff, faculty, students and parents. He starts his new position on July 1. Photo by Rick Musacchio
Mike Deely got a close look at Pope John Paul II High School, which he will lead as its next headmaster, during a recent visit to Hendersonville.
“It’s been a lot of fun,” said Deely, who visited the school April 11-15. “This school is better than even I thought it was. It makes you want to come to work.”
Deely, who currently is the principal of Cathedral Catholic High School in San Diego, California, will begin his new job as JPII’s headmaster on July 1.
During his visit, he met with current and former board members, faculty, staff, students, parents of current students and parents of prospective students.
“This is the first time to really start doing work,” Deely said, “listening to people, what they need from a headmaster, how I can serve them best.”
The message from every group he met with was the same, Deely said: How to continue to build a school to allow the students to excel.
“I’m not coming here to change JPII, but to help them build the school they envision,” Deely said. “They’re doing really well.”
Deely found the students he met with “are very aware of the gift they’re getting at this place. They appreciate the faculty.” But they want the school to help them balance “all the things a 14 to 18 year old has to deal with in America.”
During his visit, Deely officially signed his contract as the school’s new headmaster. He will succeed Faustin Weber, who announced last spring that this school year would be his last at JPII as he and his wife sought to move closer to their family in Mobile, Alabama. Weber has been announced as the principal of a new high school that is being built by the Archdiocese of Mobile and is scheduled to open in the fall of 2016.
Deely, 44, has spent his entire career and life in the San Diego area. He is a graduate of the University of San Diego High School and received a bachelor’s degree in history with a minor in philosophy and later a master’s degree in history from the University of San Diego. Both are Catholic schools.
He returned to his high school alma mater in 1994 to begin his career in education as a history and theology teacher, campus minister and a football coach.
Deely left University of San Diego High in 2001 to become principal of St. Charles Borromeo Academy, a kindergarten through eighth grade school in San Diego.
In 2005, the Diocese of San Diego moved University of San Diego High to a new campus and renamed it Cathedral Catholic High. Deely joined the staff at Cathedral Catholic in 2006 as its principal, a position he’s held since.
Cathedral Catholic is a co-ed school with about 1,700 students.
Deely, his wife Susan, and their children Clare, 6, and Atticus, 4, will move to Middle Tennessee in June.