Terence Sheridan is the first layperson to be appointed president of Toronto’s St. Michael’s College School.

St. Michael’s chooses first layperson to head school

By 
  • January 4, 2012

TORONTO - Terence Sheridan, the newly appointed president of Toronto’s St. Michael’s College School, may be the first layperson to lead the school, but he’s no stranger to the Basilian tradition of the community.

An alumnus of the Toronto all-boys private school, Sheridan has spent the last 15 years as a teacher, administrator and coach at St. Michael’s. And in July 2012, he will succeed Fr. Joseph Redican, C.S.B., as president. During his two-year term, Sheridan will also continue to serve as principal of the school, a role he has held since January.

“I’m certainly looking forward to it,” said Sheridan, who in his new role will be the public face of the school.

“I’m truly honoured and humbled by this opportunity to follow in the footsteps of the Basilian Fathers.”

Those same Basilians have great confidence in Sheridan, said Fr. Timothy Scott, C.S.B., chair of the school’s board of directors.

“He’s been an excellent leader as principal,” said Scott, also president of St. Joseph’s College, a Catholic college at the University of Alberta.

“Everybody knew his experience showed that he could provide the leadership that the school needs.”

Traditionally, Scott explained, when the school needs a new president, the Basilian superior general presents a candidate to fill the position. Due to the administrative demands and required skill set of the job, however, no suitable candidate was found during the most recent selection process, which left the role open to laity. From there, Scott said, it was a clear choice.

“There’s a fantastic tradition we’re very proud of in the school that the Basilians have built,” said Scott, “and Terry gets it.”

Sheridan, in addition to serving as principal, teaches a Grade 12 English course, coaches one of the school’s hockey teams, works closely with the student government and — on the side — is earning his doctorate degree in education administration. He’s able to balance his many roles and activities, he added, because of a very supportive family; Sheridan and his wife, Laura, have three daughters.

Sheridan’s presidency may also usher in a new model of governance at St. Michael’s, said Scott. The board of directors, currently composed of only Basilian Fathers, might expand to include laity in the future, which “would be good for the school.” Both he and Sheridan assured, though, that the Basilians and their tradition will continue to have a strong presence at St. Michael’s.

“The Basilian Fathers are very down to earth,” said Sheridan. “There’s a focus on social justice, (and) their interactions with the boys here at the school really brings faith into action, certainly on a spiritual level but on a human level (as well).”

And by the time Sheridan takes over as president next year, the Basilians will have been at it for 160 years — the order founded St. Michael’s in 1852. Since then, it’s become the largest school of its kind in Canada, with a strong academic and athletic reputation.

“I am sure there will be some challenges,” Sheridan admitted, “but I take strength in the St. Michael’s community.”

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