Fairfield Prep President-Elect named
Fairfield University President Rev. Jeffrey P. von Arx, S.J., announced today that following a national search, Rev. Thomas M. Simisky, S.J., has been appointed President-elect at Fairfield College Preparatory School, a division of Fairfield University. Father Simisky will assume leadership of the school on July 1, 2015, succeeding current President Rev. John J. Hanwell, S.J., who has been named Socius for the Jesuit USA Northeast Province.
Father von Arx commended Father Simisky: “I am pleased to appoint Father Simisky to lead Fairfield Prep. In his short time already at the school, his passion for and commitment to the school, the students, and Jesuit education have been evident to all. He has my full support and confidence, and I pledge to him and the Prep community the University’s continued and steadfast support of the school. I also would like to thank Father Hanwell for his service and contributions to Prep. We are going to miss him and wish him well in his new upcoming assignment helping to administer the Jesuit USA Northeast Province.”
Father Simisky, 44, currently teaches Spanish at Prep and fulfills additional administrative and pastoral roles. Since arriving in August, he also celebrates Sunday Mass in Spanish at St. Charles Borromeo parish in Bridgeport, where many Prep students volunteer in service. Commenting on the mission and his new position, he stated, "Fairfield Prep is a school committed to excellence, knowing that with opportunity comes responsibility. We form leaders who will engage the world from a core of faith and justice. Being at Fairfield Prep allows me to share my love for Ignatian spirituality and secondary education, combined with a missionary spirit that finds creative ways to express itself."
Father Hanwell added, “I’m delighted that Fr. Simisky will become my successor in leading our great school. Prep has already been blessed by his wonderful presence among us this year. He is a very fine Jesuit priest who will bring his many gifts in maintaining our important Jesuit, Catholic mission in the years to come. I can only hope that he will be as happy at Prep as I have been these last nine years.”
The Search Committee was led by Timothy H. Murphy ’85, chair of Prep’s Board of Governors, and included additional representatives from the Board of Governors, Fairfield Jesuit community, University Board of Trustees and administration, Provincial’s office, and Prep parents and alumni. The committee solicited input from the Prep community and actively considered the input provided. The committee unanimously recommended Fr. Simisky as Prep’s next leader. Mr. Murphy commented, “I am delighted by Father von Arx’s decision to appoint Rev. Tom Simisky, S.J., as the next President of Fairfield Prep. Father Simisky brings many strengths to answer our community’s call: a deep commitment to Ignatian spirituality, strong leadership skills that have been tested in many settings, a powerful ability to communicate and connect, and global vision. He’ll build on the very strong foundation we’ve enjoyed under the leadership of Father Hanwell.”
Originally from Worcester, Mass., Father Simisky's life has included many journeys marked by teaching, leadership, and a global perspective. After graduating from St. John's High School and Assumption College with a degree in politics, he served as an artillery officer in the Marine Corps in the Persian Gulf and Western Pacific. He later was a district sales manager for an industrial manufacturer before returning to school and earning a master’s degree in economics from Boston College. BC is where he first met Jesuits and experienced Ignatian spirituality.
Ordained in June 2014, Father Simisky has lived in Jamaica, Bolivia, Chile, Russia, and Kyrgyzstan. He speaks Spanish and Russian. Additionally, he received a degree in philosophy from the Universidad Alberto Hurtado in Chile, as well as master’s degrees in divinity and theology from Boston College. He previously worked at Cheverus High School in Maine, Boston College High School, and Catholic Memorial in Boston. He has been a member of the Cheverus High School Board of Trustees for the past five years.
Over the next several months, Father Simisky will take advantage of this time of transition in preparation for assuming leadership of the school. Fairfield Prep enjoys an outstanding reputation and history of success due to the efforts of the excellent administration, faculty, and staff, as well as the support and commitment of students, parents and alumni. The Prep community is excited to have Father Simisky, with his passion and commitment to secondary education, lead Prep into the future.
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