GLEN CARBON — Father McGivney Catholic High School has announced that Joe Lombardi will be its next principal starting this summer. He will take over for interim principal Bobbie Madura.
Lombardi was recommended by McGivney’s search committee from what the members called a strong pool of local and national candidates. Lombardi, a resident of Edwardsville, is currently at Belleville West High School where he has served the last 18 years as a teacher, coach, and chair of the science department, a role requiring numerous administrative duties.
McGivney’s President, Father Jeff Goeckner, said he is excited about the selection.
“I asked the committee to bring us a faith-filled candidate who is an excellent mentor to teachers, an inspiration to students, trusted by parents, and has the passion and dedication to lead a new Catholic school to great success,” Goeckner said. “That is a tall order, but the Holy Spirit has responded and Joe answers our prayers perfectly.”
As head of the science department at Belleville West, Lombardi oversees the hiring, evaluations, parent/student concerns, curriculum, discipline, and budgeting of a staff of 16. He has conducted more than 100 teacher interviews and has a demonstrated passion for helping students of all abilities succeed, the committee said.
“I’m honored to be selected as McGivney’s next principal,” Lombardi said. “Not only am I passionate about McGivney’s history and mission, but I’m also excited about where the school is headed and I can’t wait to be part of those future successes as well.”
Father Dan Bergbower, who chaired the principal search committee, said he is pleased with the outcome.
“We were very blessed to have a multitude of strong candidates to choose from,” Fr. Bergbower said. “It gives me great joy to see so many education professionals who want to be a part of the great success we’re seeing already at McGivney. Our high school really sells itself.”
McGivney is in its fifth year of operations and is now a “full featured” school in all academic areas, varsity sports, and other activities. Its students have already been accepted to highly selective colleges including the University of Notre Dame, Washington University in St. Louis, and the University of Illinois. As a result of these successes, McGivney’s enrollment has continued to grow significantly from its original class of 17 freshmen to an expected freshman class of over 65 for next school year and with a total student enrollment of more than 200 students.
McGivney’s school board chairman, Doug Villhard, feels fortunate the final candidate is local.
“Joe knows our area,” Villhard said. “He grew up in Granite City, resides in Edwardsville, works in Belleville, and he and his wife, Christy, sent their three kids to St. Boniface’s grade school. Not only will he be a great principal on day one, but we also don’t have to wait for him to get up to speed on our community in order to successfully recruit students and teachers. He’s committed and he’s ready to go. This is his home.”
Lombardi is also familiar with the Catholic educational system. His children attended Catholic grade school where he has served on its school board. He was also an early member of McGivney’s curriculum committee. As such, he was attracted to the opportunity at McGivney for many reasons, but especially because of the opportunity to work in a faith-filled environment.
“I love teaching, mentoring teachers, and working with students,” Lombardi said. “And I can’t wait to do all three in an environment where I can freely incorporate my faith into all aspects of education. I’ve seen the power of that as a parent in my own children’s Catholic education. I’m excited to be part of that now myself in my career.”
Bishop Thomas Paprocki has expressed his full support for both Lombardi and for McGivney’s strong start.
“McGivney is very impressive in its commitment to the Catholic faith and education in its short existence,” the bishop said. “The fact that the Griffins take their name from Bishop James Griffin, the first bishop of Springfield in Illinois, shows the strong connection between Father McGivney and the diocese. We are expecting great things from Mr. Lombardi as its educational leader, and he has our full support to achieve them.”
Lombardi will finish up the school year at Belleville West and then assume the role of McGivney’s principal officially starting this summer.
“I’m already proud to call McGivney my home,” Lombardi said. “I look forward to meeting everyone in the upcoming months and my door is wide open. I’ll take any and all feedback to help McGivney achieve its goals not just to be the best high school in the region, but also to be a national example of how a community can come together to create a world class educational environment rooted in the Catholic faith.”
— From the Illinois Business Journal via Father McGivey HS