Jesuit High School’s board of directors announced Tuesday it has selected a Jesuit priest who is serving as a chaplain in the U.S. Navy as its new president, replacing the Rev. Raymond Fitzgerald, who was sidelined last year after being diagnosed with ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease.
The Rev. Christopher Scott Fronk, a member of the Society of Jesus, will assume the job in November 2016. Until then, the Rev. Anthony McGinn will continue serving as interim president.
Fronk, 50, is a commander in the Navy, assigned to the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush. He previously served at the U.S. Coast Guard Basic Training Center in Cape May, New Jersey, and in various other military roles, which included a year-long deployment to the front lines in Afghanistan. He also coordinated religious support for soldiers and civilians in combat.
Fronk is a native of Monaca, Pennsylvania, and joined the Society of Jesus in 1985. He was ordained as a priest in 1997; he holds master’s degrees in theology, religious education and military studies.
Before starting his military career, Fronk worked as a high school teacher and chaplain at Scranton Preparatory School in Scranton, Pennsylvania, and as a campus minister at John Carroll University in Cleveland; St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia; the University of Scranton; and Wheeling Jesuit University in Wheeling, West Virginia. He was also a parochial vicar at St. Bernard Church in Pittsburgh.
Widely traveled, Fronk has served in Okinawa, Japan; Norfolk, Virginia; Pittsburgh; Fort Dix, New Jersey; and Washington, D.C.
Jesuit, an all-boys Catholic high school with an enrollment of almost 1,400 students in grades 8-12, has been searching for a new leader for 18 months, ever since Fitzgerald announced he would bow out after the 2013-14 school year because of complications from his neurological disease.
Search committee members said they were impressed with Fronk’s leadership ability and his desire to help students become men of service.
They also support his commitment to keeping the cost to families as affordable as possible. Tuition at the Mid-City school is $8,250, slightly lower than at some other Catholic high schools in the area.
“My early experience in different apostolates gave me a great appreciation for the variety of socioeconomic situations that exist in our world as well as the absolute need for this diversity to be represented in our schools,” Fronk wrote recently.
McGinn will continue as interim president through the next school year.
He served in that role for nearly 20 years before resigning in 2010, then stepped back in to help out after Fitzgerald was diagnosed.