St. Augustine High School president to retire after three years on the job _lowres

Oyd Craddock

Oyd Craddock, a former businessman who has served as president of St. Augustine High School in New Orleans for the past three years, said Thursday that he will retire in July.

Craddock, 57, plans to move to Atlanta to join his family.

“I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to serve my alma mater, and to promote Catholic education and leadership among African-American males,” said Craddock, a 1976 St. Augustine alumnus. “I look forward to a strong finish to this school year and being an asset to the board and new president during the transition.”

Craddock came to St. Augustine in 2013 after a 31-year career as an IBM sales executive. He arrived just as the 7th Ward institution was coming out of one controversy, only to plunge into another.

In 2011, the Catholic order that founded the all-boys school had made the controversial decision to end the practice of paddling, as urged by Archbishop Gregory Aymond.

The archdiocese then decided to require all of the city’s Catholic schools adhere to the same grade structure, meaning St. Augustine would have to eliminate several grades.

Craddock was St. Augustine’s third president in a decade, succeeding Karen Smith Collins, who resigned after only eight months on the job, and the Rev. John Raphael, who was recalled to his order’s Baltimore headquarters after the paddling controversy.

The school also has had three principals — a separate position from the presidency — in four years, and its former board chairman, Daniel Davillier, resigned in 2014 in protest over the mandated grade changes.

In a statement Friday, the current board chairman, Transdev Vice President Justin Augustine, said Craddock has “achieved the stability that was so sorely needed” and has worked with the school’s board and religious order, the Josephites, “to create a strategic long-term vision that positions St. Augustine High School to compete as a school of excellence for future decades.”

Before his three-year contract expires July 31, Craddock will help select his successor as a member of the school’s president search committee, officials said. St. Augustine expects to hire a new president by Aug. 1.

Follow Jessica Williams on Twitter, @jwilliamsNOLA.