LFA’s 30th Head of School: José de Jesús


Photo Courtesy of Mia Walvoord. As LFA’s 30th Head of School, José de Jesús, will begin his work this coming July, after Dr. John Strudwick retires.

Mia Walvoord, Managing Editor of A&E

An Interview with José De Jesús

Uploaded by Angelina Chan ’20 on 2019-05-05.

José de Jesús interviews with Mia Walvoord. 


 Since the announcement of the Strudwicks’ retirement, the Academy’s Board of Trustees has tirelessly undertaken a search for a candidate fitting the school’s mission and who would be well suited for the responsibilities of the position. They finally found one in Mr. Dejesús, current Head of the Upper School at Packer Collegiate Institute. He is set to take over Dr. Strudwick’s duties on July 1, 2019.

  Dejesús first heard about the Academy through a close family friend who is an alumnus. Throughout his career working at private schools, he continued to hear LFA mentioned in conversation and got a sense of the school’s positive reputation.

  His curiosity was piqued when he heard about the available position, and he was excited to come experience the community for himself, though he didn’t know quite what to expect. His visit only reaffirmed all the praise that he had heard from friends and colleagues. During his recent visit to campus, he made time to sit down for a an interview with the Spectator.

   “I was born in Puerto Rico and growing up in my culture we really connect to our gut feelings in many ways and a sense of a room, and when I was here, I would make my way around and it just felt good.”

  In his first year, he plans to focus his efforts on immersing himself fully in the school’s atmosphere & “learning” about its community.

  As soon as the year begins, he will begin to implement his own personal “entry plan” as a way of helping him get to know both students and faculty personally as well as learn about the strengths and weaknesses of the school from their perspectives. He wants to have sit-down discussions with every faculty and staff member and countless groups of students in which he will ask three questions.  (I’ll leave it to him to pose them). He has used this method as he has entered previous positions and has found that such input very meaningful, shaping his future efforts in leading and improving the school community. In these personal settings, it seems that people are willing to be more honest about their feelings, and Mr. Dejesús eagerly awaits the opportunity to learn more about both the unique strengths of LFA and what those in the community find to be places that require growth. In his experience, he has found it very rewarding and motivational to see how his work is manifested in the accomplishments of the community and is eager to get to work. He already sees evidence of community members’ passion and investment in the school’s future.

   “I’ve also been very pleasantly surprised that, consistently, I’ve talked to and I felt people were being honest with me, I’m struck by how much people love the place, I really am. And even the people who feel like there are things that the school can do better, came to that comment with a lot of love,” noted the incoming Head of School.

   Dejesús explained how crucial his family had been in making the decision to take interest in the position, and ultimately accepting it. Before taking over the office, he wanted to make sure that he and his wife, daughter, and younger son all felt that they would be able to call the Academy home. After each of their first experiences at the school, he remarked that they each felt a connection to the place right away. It was inspiring to for all of them to see the commitment of both students, faculty, and staff to contributing to the betterment of the school.

   “That sense of people really wanting to be here, loving the place was palpable and we all felt it in my family,” he commented.