New President Announced at Serra
New President Announced at Serra

It is with great excitement that we announce that Barry Thornton, Ed.D. has been appointed as Serra's new president. He will assume office in July

"I am very honored and humbled," said Thornton, the current principal of Serra who has worked at the school since 1996. "I have a passion for this incredible community. We do something profoundly special and unique here at Serra. It's amazing to watch our boys grow into young men of integrity who are spiritually, emotionally and academically ready to go out into the world. I can't wait to tell our story."

Thornton accepted the position after a six-month, nationwide search.

"Dr. Thornton brings an unbridled passion for Serra to this position that is contagious," said Pamela Lyons, Archdiocese of San Francisco superintendent of schools. "After his many years of service to Serra, he knows the school community intimately, yet will bring a fresh perspective to his new role."

As he transitions into his new role, Thornton said finding a new principal will be on his list of top priorities. "We hope to fill that position with someone who has strong leadership skills and an understanding of how boys learn, relate, grow and achieve," he said. "I am eager to find the right person."

Thornton started at Serra as a theology teacher in 1996, eventually becoming the dean of studies in 2002 and principal in 2008. He has been a tireless advocate for Serra's outstanding college-prep program and describes himself as having "a global view of the world." His natural curiosity and thirst for learning inspired him to earn an Ed.D. in Catholic Educational Leadership from the University of San Francisco. His thesis was titled, "Choices and Values in Catholic High School Education: A Study of Parent Decision Making in the San Francisco Bay Area."

Working with the Academic Leadership Team, Thornton developed a robust and systematic professional development program for teachers that facilitates students' academic success and college access.

"I am proud of our teachers' ability to incorporate critical thought, innovative technology and engagement strategies geared to teaching boys," he said.

In addition to being proud of Serra's strong academics, Thornton stressed the importance of the school's values-based program for young Padres that includes leadership opportunities, student-led liturgies, a life-changing service immersion program, well-attended Kairos retreats and the implementation of the Mission and Brotherhood Program, which examines teen issues and stresses the importance of becoming young men of respect, inclusion, integrity and compassion.

"We want our Padres to know what it means to be a man of compassion, someone who uses his gifts to serve others," explained Thornton, a former Peace Corps volunteer. "Our teachers, counselors, coaches and staff members mentor our boys in a faith-based community. High school can be a confusing time. We are a Catholic, Christian community of people who work together to affirm our school values and help our students through the challenges of adolescence."

As the new president, Thornton has his sights set on continuing to enhance Serra's campus facilities to provide an engaging learning environment. He was a key member of the planning committee in the design and implementation of Serra's beautiful Center for the Arts and Sciences, a $21 million facility. Thornton's background as an associate city planner for the City of Pacifica during the late 1980s provided him with a solid grasp of zoning laws, permits, commercial development proposals and all that is required for new construction and building renovations.

Thornton and his wife, Susie, are residents of San Mateo who enjoy the local community. Susie is an English teacher at Borel Middle School.

"I would like to congratulate Dr. Barry Thornton on becoming the next president of Serra High School," said Shawn DeLuna, president of the Serra Board of Regents. "I'd also like to thank the Presidential Search Committee for taking the time to examine all of the candidates. Our team spent countless hours discussing and interviewing qualified applicants. We presented three finalists for final review, and the archbishop and the superintendent of schools interviewed those dynamic candidates. Barry's passion and dedication to the school is incredible, and we are excited to see what he has in store for us in the future."