DeLaSalle President, Barry Lieske, AFSC, the longest-tenured employee in the history of the school, has informed the DeLaSalle Board of Trustees of his intent to retire at the end of the 2019-20 school year. Prior to becoming president in 2012, Barry served as principal at DeLaSalle for 19 years. He has spent 26 years at the upper levels of administrative leadership at DeLaSalle.
Barry had been meeting with the Executive Committee of the Board to begin review of a succession plan. He also met with His Excellency, Archbishop Bernard Hebda, and the Brother Visitor/Provincial of the Christian Brothers of the Midwest, Brother Larry Schatz, FSC, to personally apprise them of his plans and thank them for their ongoing support of DeLaSalle.
The Board is retaining CohenTaylor, an executive recruiting firm, to conduct a national search for the next president of DeLaSalle. CohenTaylor will be interviewing community stakeholders, creating a job profile, recruiting diverse talent, and recommending a final slate of candidates for the Board search committee to interview. Updates on the search process will be provided throughout the coming year.
Following his announcement to the Board on March 21, the school sent letters from Barry to parents, alumni, friends, and professional colleagues on his behalf: “It has been a distinct honor to be associated with DeLaSalle as an educator, administrator, colleague, and parent for what will be 41 years. Thank you. The people with whom I work are talented and dedicated, and I am proud of what we have accomplished as a Catholic and Lasallian high school. Our mission is both relevant and thriving, and I am grateful to the Board for allowing me the opportunity to contribute to DeLaSalle’s success of recent years as its president.”
“I look forward to serving as president for the next 16 months, building upon the momentum of recent years at DeLaSalle. This June, we will complete our five-year capital campaign, ‘Gateway to the Future,’ and we will carry that good news into next year, to strengthen the financial stability of the school and to provide all the more support for students and families who wish to become part of our community. We will continue to improve our already-strong academic outcomes, while doing all that we can to provide a Christian and equitable response to the hopes and needs of this richly diverse student body. “
To the parents and families, he added: “I’m also grateful to all of you, the current and future families of DeLaSalle. Just within the past few days, as our school has collaborated and celebrated at Conferences, Regional History Day, Reconciliation Services, basketball games, musical theatre, and so much more, we cannot help but be reminded of the unsurpassed impact of families looking out for each other. Community matters. As a father of three DeLaSalle alumnae, I know they gained so much from positive relationships with their peers – and also from the parents of their peers. Those lived experiences have enhanced their college and career paths, and we know of generations of Islanders who would say the same.”
And he also expressed gratitude to the alumni and friends who support the school so faithfully: “Over these years as president, I’ve had the good fortune and primary duty to meet with many supporters of DeLaSalle and our mission. Thank you for your many encouraging and kind words of support for our work. Thank you for your thoughts and prayers. For those who have chosen to support our school with your financial gifts, please know that we have never taken your kindness for granted. Hindsight has also been a gift. I have worked at DeLaSalle long enough to remember enrollments less than half of where we are today, of aging facilities, deficit budgets, and programs being cut, all of which has been turned around with your help. You have been magnificent collaborators at DeLaSalle, and it’s always been a privilege to thank you on behalf of the students and families we serve at DeLaSalle today and future generations to come.”
As president, Barry is the 31st chief administrator in DeLaSalle’s 119-year history. For most of that history, a Christian Brother served in that role, for a four- or six-year term. Only the third lay administrator at DeLaSalle (following Robert Casanova from 1971-73 and Michael Palmer in 1974-75), Barry’s tenure as chief administrator will become the second longest in school history upon his retirement in 2020, exceeded only by the presidency of Brother Michael Collins, FSC who served from 1991 through to his unexpected death from cancer in January, 2012. Brother Michael and Barry were great friends and worked closely together as president and principal on every administrative and strategic initiative of that era.