St. Augustine High School announced Tuesday that Kenneth St. Charles, a college administrator and St. Augustine alumnus with an extensive background in fundraising, has been named the school’s new president.
He replaces Oyd Craddock, a former IBM executive who announced in February that he planned on retiring after four years leading the school, a historically black 7th Ward institution that has seen its share of controversy and financial strain over the past few years.
St. Charles, 53, comes from Randolph College in Lynchburg, Virginia, where he has served for the past year as vice president for institutional advancement. St. Augustine noted that the college raised a record $15.6 million during his tenure. Before that, he spent a decade in the same role at Xavier University in New Orleans.
Justin Augustine, the chairman of the school’s board, said St. Charles was selected after a five-month national search. “Dr. St. Charles possesses the strategic vision, fundraising expertise and firm commitment to ensuring that current and future students receive the educational experience and opportunities that will guarantee their future success,” Augustine said.
St. Augustine, an all-boys Catholic school, has undergone some wrenching changes over the past five years or so. First, Archbishop Gregory Aymond ordered the school, which was founded by the Josephite order in 1951, to end its longstanding practice of paddling in 2011. More recently, the archdiocese decided to impose a uniform grade structure at all of the city’s Catholic schools, forcing St. Augustine to shed 6th and 7th grades. Its former board chairman quit in protest, warning that the move would exacerbate financial problems that already existed.
St. Charles, who graduated from St. Augustine in 1981, received his bachelor’s degree in business administration from Loyola University. He completed an MBA and earned a doctor of philosophy degree in educational administration at the University of New Orleans.
St. Charles also served as an officer in the U.S. military. He retired from the army as a Lieutenant Colonel after 30 years in the reserves, having spent a year in Kuwait after the 9/11 attacks.