New presidents appointed for two Catholic high schools


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Two San Diego diocese high schools, Cathedral Catholic and Mater Dei, are getting new presidents.

The director of schools, John Galvan, announced that the principal of Cathedral Catholic High School, Kevin Calkins, Ph.D., will become its president on July  1. The current president, Stevan Laaperi, is retiring.

Calkins has worked in Catholic education for more than two decades, including nearly six years  at the helm of CCHS. Around 1,600 students attend the high school, located in Carmel Valley.

His previous leadership experience includes serving as associate superintendent at the Archdiocese of New Orleans; as principal at St. Dominic Savio High School in Austin, Texas; and as Dean of Academics at Verbum Dei High School in Los Angeles.

Galvan cited the principal’s “warmth, intelligence and humanity in guiding Cathedral Catholic out of this pandemic year and into a very bright future.”

He called the principal “a true leader-servant for the campus community.”

“He shows what it means to be a Don and he leads not just with words, but through example. He makes all of us – students, staff and administrators alike – want to be better people.”

Calkins said he was honored that Bishop McElroy, Galvan, and the Cathedral Catholic President Selection Committee chose him to serve as the school’s next president.

“I have loved the past six years serving as principal, and I look forward to the opportunities before me to strengthen the Cathedral Catholic experience for current and future students and families,” he said.

Galvan also announced the appointment of Father Joaquin Martinez, SJ, as the new president of Mater Dei High School and Mater Dei Juan Diego Academy. Around 850 students attend the high school, which has been led by John Rey, who is stepping down to spend more time with his family.

Father Martinez, 55, has served as the director of the Catholic community at the UCSD Newman Center.

He’s a lifelong educator who has worked as a science teacher and administrator in public, private and Catholic schools. He served as president of a large Jesuit high school in Ohio and administrator at Saint Ignatius College Prep in San Francisco.

In Rome, he served as the International Education Coordinator for the Jesuit Refugee Service, where he led initiatives for refugees in 26 countries.

“Imagine our surprise, as we were gearing up for a nationwide search for the next Mater Dei president, that we find him 25 miles away,” said Galvan in announcing the father’s appointment.

After serving four years at the Newman Center, Father Martinez said that he had started to consider returning to working more directly in education.

He said about the the time he was talking to his superior about pursuing a change , the opportunity at Mater Dei “dropped in my lap.”

Father Martinez said the roots of his passion for education stretch back to his teen years, when he attended a Jesuit high school in Manila, where he grew up,

“I wanted to be like them,” he said of the work his teachers were doing. “That’s why I joined the Jesuits and why I wanted to be in education.

“You might say education has really been my calling.”











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