Since Austin Preparatory School opened its doors nearly 60 years ago, it has remained steadfast in its mission: Inspire hearts to unite, minds to inquire, and hands to serve. In the tradition of St. Augustine of Hippo (the school’s namesake), an Austin Prep education emphasizes the importance of a life in service of others, supported by the pursuit of academic excellence in the liberal arts tradition within a welcoming and close-knit community.
A coeducational institution since 1992, Austin Prep now serves more than 750 students in grades six through twelve from Reading, MA, and 66 neighboring communities northeast of Boston and in Southern New Hampshire.
For a position to begin in July 2021, Austin Prep is seeking an enthusiastic and strategically minded fundraising expert who is well versed in the creation and administration of a first-rate independent school development office. This is a newly created position for Austin Prep, an extraordinary opportunity for an experienced and entrepreneurial development professional to build upon the school’s record of steadily increasing philanthropy over the past eight years.
Austin Preparatory School was established by the Order of Saint Augustine, Province of St. Thomas of Villanova, in 1961. Two years later, the Augustinians welcomed 200 freshman and sophomore boys, graduating its first class of 18 students in 1966. Facing dwindling enrollment in the early 1970s, the school appointed a lay Board of Trustees and became a fully incorporated Catholic independent school. In the 1980s, recognizing the importance of creating a pipeline for enrollment, the Board approved the addition of a Middle School; and in the 1990s Austin Prep began to enroll young women, graduating its first alumnae in 1996. Today, the school’s enrollment has grown to more than 750 students, evenly divided between boys and girls.
An independent Roman Catholic school, Austin Prep is a proud member of the Augustinian Secondary Educational Association (ASEA). Neither owned nor operated by the Archdiocese of Boston or any religious order, the school is an independent 501(c)3 recognized as a “private juridic person” in accordance with the Code of Canon law of the Roman Catholic Church. Under this status, the Head of School reports directly to the Board of Trustees and defers to the teaching authority of the Cardinal Archbishop of Boston in all matters of faith and morals. Originally founded by the Augustinian Friars, the Augustinian ethos and traditions form a significant part of student life. Each day begins and ends with prayer, and faculty work hard to model the school’s values in their teaching and in the relationships they form with students. St. Augustine valued the role of community in spiritual life, and this emphasis is clearly borne out in the close bonds students, parents, and alumni cite as characteristic of their experience at Austin Prep.
In addition to impressive curricular innovations, there have been major improvements to the physical plant in recent years. Increased philanthropy, including two capital campaigns over the past eight years, have allowed the school to update its athletic stadium, refurbish the dining hall and fitness center, and build a new baseball stadium, multipurpose field, and tennis courts. Ongoing and planned projects include instructional and common area renovations, technology infrastructure upgrades, improvements to the campus electrical grid, expanded parking, and new softball fields. The gym and auditorium facility, constructed in 2001, was renamed in 2016 to honor alumnus Richard J. Meelia '67, which was blessed by His Eminence Sean Cardinal O'Malley, Archbishop of Boston.
Austin Prep made a seamless transition to remote learning in the spring of 2020 and to a hybrid learning model this fall by capitalizing on planned technology upgrades and the already strong rapport among faculty and students. The academic schedule was reconfigured to meet the needs of students through virtual tutorials, Zoom meetings, a rotating block schedule, and a modified Advisory Program. The Annual Convocation and holiday performances have been livestreamed to allow families to participate in these traditional and beloved events.
AUSTIN PREPARATORY SCHOOL AT A GLANCE
Austin Prep’s mission is to inspire hearts to unite, minds to inquire, and hands to serve. St. Augustine is the School’s patron saint, and the school strives toward the Augustinian ideal of “one mind, one heart, intent upon God.” The Augustinian charisms of veritas, unitas, and caritas – truth, unity, and love – inspire the mission.
Accreditation, Memberships, and Affiliations
New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC)
Augustinian Secondary Educational Association (ASEA)
National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS)
National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA)
Association of Independent Schools of New England (AISNE)
Enrollment and Financial Aid
Austin Prep’s 750+ students hail from 67 communities throughout Northeastern Massachusetts and Southern New Hampshire. The school also enrolls international students from China, South Korea, and Italy. Tuition for the 2020-2021 school year is $24,100, and approximately a third of students receive tuition assistance totaling $1.8 million. Students benefit from both need-based aid and academic merit scholarships, which includes the St. Augustine Scholarship – a merit-based award given to a limited number of freshmen each year.
Finance and Development
Austin Prep is a well managed school with a $18.2 million operating budget and a small endowment. The school raised nearly $1 million in voluntary giving during the last school year, including $482,000 in capital funds and $422,000 in annual giving. The ongoing Igniting Hearts, Transforming Lives capital campaign has secured $1.8 million in commitments toward a goal of $3 million.
Austin Prep’s 50-acre campus sits in Reading, 15 miles north of Boston at the intersection of Interstates 95 and 93. The spacious, wooded surroundings contribute to the school’s warm and nurturing environment.
This fall, the school celebrated the completion of a new athletic complex featuring synthetic turf and natural grass baseball fields, six new tennis courts, an electronic scoreboard, a press box, dugouts, storage facilities, walkways, and new handicap-accessible bleachers. Additional athletic facilities include the Athletic Stadium Complex, which offers a turf field, a state-of-the-art track, seating for 1,100, and a university-level scoreboard. Meelia Hall is home to the basketball court and the Nelson Athletic Fitness & Training Room.
Other facilities include McLaughlin Hall, which comprises the Technology Center, the McCarthy Writing Center, the dining hall, counseling and administrative offices, classrooms, science labs, and the Chapel of St. Augustine. The Fr. Smith Library and Media Center houses more than 42,000 books and periodicals and a technology and study center. St. Augustine Hall contains conference rooms, the music and arts wings, the Murphy Art Gallery, and external affairs and business offices. Austin Prep’s Dance Program boasts the largest dance studio north of Boston, with a sprung floor and dance mirrors.
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE EDUCATIONAL PROGRAM
Three signature elements help to define the richness and depth of the Austin Prep educational experience:
AGUSTINIAN VALUES: As a Roman Catholic school guided by Augustinian values and traditions, Austin Prep’s Office of Campus Ministry emphasizes the importance of serving others in the spirit of caritas (love). To this end, all students must complete a Christian service requirement for graduation which enables them to experience and share God’s love in concrete ways through their words and their actions in ministry to others. Additional elements of the school’s religious life include school-wide liturgies, daily prayers, spiritual retreats, and a robust curriculum designed and taught by the school’s Theology faculty.
ADVISORY PROGRAM: Austin Prep views its advisory program as fundamental to student achievement, and it is often cited by parents and students as one of the school’s signature strengths. Austin Prep’s three- pillared approach, which combines academic advising, emotional and social counseling, and college counseling, enables students to develop confidence interacting with peers and teachers and to make wise and thoughtful choices in their academic and personal lives. Integrated with the life of the school, the advisory program provides consistency throughout students’ time at Austin Prep and encourages students to make the most of the ample opportunities offered by the school.
CHOICE-BASED CURRICULUM: Choice and voice in the Middle School academic program promote student ownership and create opportunities for students to take risks and grow. The Upper School curriculum, in particular, is defined by choice. From freshman year on, students are empowered to shape their high school education with electives in each of the core subjects. As they continue through the division, their course selection broadens. Faculty offer courses that delve deeply into their own areas of expertise, presenting seminars and courses that more closely resemble college classes in their depth and specificity. Examples include Passing in Literature, Shakespeare in Film, Medical Microbiology, and Nationalism and Identity in Latin America.
Faculty and Staff
Austin Prep’s low student-teacher ratio (10:1) enables the formation of the close ties between students and teachers that many alumni name as a highlight of the experience at the school. Fifty of Austin Prep’s approximately 75 faculty members hold advanced degrees, and there are ample professional development funds available for continuing education. The faculty have an average tenure of 16 years at Austin Prep. The faculty is notable for its solidarity and its commitment to the institution, reflected, among other things, in its record of 99 percent participation in annual giving.
The Middle School
The Middle School at Austin Preparatory School is an inviting, intentional environment rooted in the best practices of middle school education. During this pivotal period, students are supported by faculty and advisors as they navigate campus, accelerate their growth, and flourish as independent learners and self-advocates. In their classes and co-curricular activities, students are challenged to be curious.
The well-rounded and challenging core academic program is augmented by a range of special programs, including an extensive service learning program; a seventh-grade Vocations Program in which students immerse themselves in discipleship and learn what it means to live a life of faith; an eight-grade civics trip to Washington, D.C.; and a study-abroad opportunity in the United Kingdom through the Independent Schools Cultural Alliance (ISCA).
The Upper School
Choosing among a wide variety of course offerings, Upper School students complete four years of English and theology, at least three years of history, math, science, world language (Spanish, French, Latin, or Mandarin), and electives, three semesters of art and design, and a freshman seminar. Courses are classified as one of three levels: College Preparatory, Honors, or Advanced Placement. Austin Prep currently offers 19 Advanced Placement courses. In 2020, Austin Prep had 33 total AP scholars, including 21 with Honors, 28 with Distinction, and one National AP Scholar.
All Austin Prep graduates are accepted into four-year colleges. Over the past five years, Austin Prep alumni have enrolled at a healthy range of colleges and universities across the country, including leading liberal arts colleges (Middlebury College, Kenyon College, Bowdoin College), competitive public universities (The Ohio State University, University of California – Los Angeles, University of Virginia), strong regional institutions (Lehigh University, Purdue University, Elon University), and highly selective private schools (Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Yale University, Princeton University, Harvard University).
A Well-Rounded Educational Experience
Technology is an integral part of the learning experience at Austin Prep. The school employs a 1:1 iPad program, and Windows and Mac computers are available for use in the library and writing lab. Students are provided with access and support for technology with the goal that students gain the skills and understanding they need to grow into informed and productive digital citizens. They have a chance to enrich their skills and understanding of technology with classes in Java and Python programming languages and AP computer science.
Embracing the motto, “to instruct and inspire,” the art and design department makes space for students to discover and pursue their passions in the visual and performing arts and technology. Upper school students can join the chorus or band, enroll in a drama class, or take advantage of Austin Prep’s well-regarded dance program, which welcomes dancers of all experiences and abilities and offers classes in jazz, ballet, tap, pointe, lyric, and modern dance. All dancers are included in the annual production of The Nutcracker and a spring recital. Students interested in the theatrical arts can audition for the drama fest, fall musical, and spring play. Visual art offerings include studio art, illustration, graphic design, and yearbook design.
Austin Prep also offers more than 60 clubs and student organizations. From anime to yoga, students have a chance to form bonds with peers and adults who share their areas of interest and take on leadership roles in an appropriate setting. Those especially eager to play an active role in the life of the school can run for positions in Student Government.
The success of Austin Prep’s athletic program is grounded in a commitment to building physical skills as well as life skills that enable student-athletes to succeed as young adults. In line with the school’s values, the athletics program’s mission is to develop student-athletes who are selfless teammates, possess an unparalleled work ethic, consistently display the highest levels of sportsmanship, and are dedicated to a common goal. A competitive athletic program, Austin Prep was honored with the Boston Globe’s Nason Award in 2018, 2019, and 2020 for having the highest overall winning average among Catholic coed schools in the Commonwealth. The athletics program comprises more than 50 teams in 18 sports. Middle School sports offerings include Soccer (boys and girls), Basketball (boys and girls), Lacrosse (boys), and Softball (girls). The Upper School fields teams in Baseball (boys), Basketball, Cheerleading, Cross Country, Dance Team, Football, Golf, Ice Hockey, Indoor Track, Lacrosse, Outdoor Track & Field, Skiing, Soccer, Softball (girls), Swimming, Tennis, Field Hockey, and Volleyball (girls). Students compete in the Catholic Central League (CCL) and fall under the jurisdiction of the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA).
For more information regarding the educational program at Austin Preparatory School, please visit the school’s website: www.austinprep.org/academics.
THE POSITION: DIRECTOR OF DEVELOPMENT
The Director of Development, who reports to the Head of School, is responsible for planning and executing the fundraising programs of Austin Prep. Fundraising priorities include focusing on long-term financial sustainability as well as meeting the annual needs required to operate the school.
The successful candidate will play a vital role in the creation of a new Development Office at Austin Prep, consolidating all of the school’s fundraising activities, collaborating with the Board of Trustees and other school offices, and expanding outreach efforts to parents, the school’s 5,800 alumni, and potential major donors. The new Director will have the opportunity to build upon the steady increase in philanthropy that the school has experienced over the past eight years.
Among the specific tasks awaiting the Director of Development are the following:
Hiring a Director of Annual Giving and a Database Manager.
Raising the remaining $1.2 million necessary to complete the ongoing $3 million capital campaign.
Strengthening the participation of the Board’s Advancement Committee in fundraising efforts.
Developing the Annual Fund by connecting quickly and genuinely with alumni and parents.
Key Responsibilities of the Position
Supporting the mission of Austin Prep and being a visible presence in the school community.
Developing and leading a professional and volunteer staff to carry out the activities of the Development Office.
Working with the Chief Financial Officer to create the annual budget for the Development Office.
Devising and managing a program designed to attract significant gift support, including annual giving solicitation, capital giving solicitation, the planned giving program, estate planning, corporate and foundation proposals, and the cultivation of current and potential donors.
Supervising the staff of the Development Office.
Working with the Board of Trustees to incentivize them to place Austin Prep high on their philanthropy priority list and to participate in the fundraising efforts of the Development Office.
Being the staff liaison to the Development Committee of the Board of Trustees, including preparing and distributing reports for the Head of School and the Board of Trustees.
Creating and distributing the Annual Report.
Developing and coordinating all aspects of major giving.
Overseeing signature fundraising events, including the golf outing.
Overseeing alumni relations in conjunction with the Director of Alumni Relations and Giving.
Incentivizing alumni and parent giving in support of the Annual Fund.
Continually working on effective, compelling, and consistent messaging.
Managing all grant writing.
Researching and cultivating Austin Prep’s key prospects in collaboration with the Head of School.
Overseeing the processing of all gift income in consultation with the Business Office, for the purpose of providing receipts and thank-you letters, as well as maintaining meticulous records of giving and donor interaction with the school.
Engaging with professional organizations that are devoted to best practices in fundraising in Catholic and independent education.
Abiding by a “no-surprise” policy, alerting the Head of School to any issues that would conflict with the school’s mission or detract from serving the best interests of the community.
WHO SHOULD APPLY
Austin Prep seeks a Director of Development who is skilled, motivated, and eager to build a high-functioning Development Office. The successful candidate will be a natural leader and superior communicator who is well-versed in all aspects of fundraising in an educational setting.
The ideal candidate will offer the following qualifications:
Substantial experience in all key areas of fundraising, including annual and capital giving as well as constituent relations and donor cultivation.
Experience working in independent schools and/or colleges, preferably including a Catholic institution.
Strong familiarity with fundraising technology and database management.
A demonstrated ability to hire well and mentor effectively.
A track record of teambuilding and demonstrated success creating a culture of collaboration and collegiality, coupled with an openness to being coached.
A genuine commitment to the mission and values of Austin Prep.
The ideal candidate will be:
A strategically minded, entrepreneurial, and proactive leader, eager to identify and tackle new challenges.
An excellent manager.
An enthusiastic, positive spirit with an engaging personality and a desire to be involved in the school community.
A quick learner and a good listener.
An authentic, trustworthy professional who will respect and promote the highest ethical and professional standards on campus and in the community.
Anticipated Search Calendar
Application deadline: February 19, 2021
Semifinalist interviews: March 13-14, 2021
Finalist visits: March/April 2021
Appointment: Early Spring 2021
Starting date: July 2021
APPLICATION REQUIREMENTS AND SEARCH PROCESS
Wickenden Associates, an affiliate of DRG Talent Advisory Group, is conducting this search on behalf of Austin Prep. To discuss this opportunity in more detail, potential candidates may contact Wickenden Associates President and DRG Principal Jim Wickenden firstname.lastname@example.org or at 609.915.9418.
Candidates should submit as soon as possible and no later than Friday, February 19, 2021, an application package including the following:
A cover letter indicating why they are particularly interested in and qualified for the position.
A current résumé.
The names, addresses, and telephone numbers of three references. (References should be submitted as a separate document, not as part of the résumé or cover letter. We will obtain permission from candidates before contacting references.)
Optional: Other supporting material (e.g. articles, speeches, or other writing samples) that would be useful to the Search Committee.
After an initial review of applicants in late February, select candidates will be invited to interview with the search committee on March 13 and 14. Finalist candidates will be invited to Austin Prep shortly thereafter for a more comprehensive series of interviews with representatives of the school’s constituencies. A late spring appointment/announcement is anticipated. Wickenden Associates/DRG will keep all applicants informed of their status throughout the process.