MONTVALE, N.J. ‒ Barry Donnelly ‘71, the first-ever president of Saint Joseph Regional High School, will retire from that position at the conclusion of the current academic year.
Donnelly began his tenure at SJR on January 3, 1977, when he was hired by Brother Peter Russell, C.F.X. as a part-time teacher and bookstore manager. The following year, he became a full-time faculty member and, in 1978, was appointed the school’s business manager, a position he held for 20 years.
In 2000, he was named the school’s Assistant Principal for Academics before becoming the first alum to be named principal in 2007. After nine years in that role, he became the school’s first president in 2016. In all, he has completed more than forty-two years of service to St. Joe’s, helping to build the futures of more than three-quarters of the Green Knight population.
“It has been an honor and a privilege to have been able to serve a place that has been my home, either as a student or a faculty member, for the better part of my life. I will certainly miss it,” reflected Donnelly.
After graduating from Boston College in 1975, Donnelly has served in more capacities than anyone else in SJR school history including as a student, alum, parent (sons Scott ‘02, Chris ‘05), administrator, coach, board member and, through it all, a teacher.
“I am one of the many people who have been extremely fortunate to have worked with Barry during his tenure at our school,” said Principal Michael Bruno ‘05. “His astounding professionalism, deep-rooted faith, love of St. Joe’s and insatiable work ethic have enabled him to impact SJR in remarkable ways. He will be truly missed.”
In announcing his retirement, Donnelly noted that the coming years are critically important ones as the school embarks on another self-study in preparation for Middle States re-accreditation in the fall of 2021, and develops a new long-term Strategic Plan.
“There are also some major renovations to our facilities that will necessitate careful planning and advancement endeavors. For all of those things to happen successfully, SJR will need stable leadership that will guide our school through these initiatives and beyond.”
The Archdiocese of Newark is conducting a national search for SJR’s next president. Members of the school community will make up the majority of the search committee, which will also include Deputy Superintendent of Schools for the Archdiocese John O’Neil.
Mr. Donnelly was inducted into the SJR Hall of Fame in 1993 and selected as an Archdiocesan Outstanding Educator in 1996; later that same year, he received the Theodore James Ryken Award for service to Catholic education from the Xaverian Brothers. He has had articles published in several professional journals including The English Journal, The Armchair Detective, High School Today and the NJ Council of Teachers of English Journal. He and his wife of 38 years, Jane, reside in Ramsey.