Holy Cross School Headmaster Charles DiGange to depart in 2017 _lowres

Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKER -- Charles DiGange, The longtime headmaster of Holy Cross School in New Orleans will retire next year, school officials said Wednesday, January 13, 2016.

The longtime headmaster of Holy Cross School in New Orleans will retire next year, the school said Wednesday.

A search committee will look for Charles DiGange’s replacement as he prepares to depart in June 2017.

Although DiGange, 69, first took the helm a dozen years ago, he has been a fixture at the all-boys Catholic school for decades. He graduated from Holy Cross in 1964, then returned four years later to teach and serve as an administrator.

After a 21-year tenure that ended with the job of assistant headmaster, he left for a fundraising post at Loyola University, where he stayed for 15 years.

His term as headmaster at Holy Cross is the second-longest in the school’s history.

He is credited with leading the school through its relocation after Hurricane Katrina from its historic Dauphine Street site in the school’s namesake neighborhood to its current Paris Avenue address in Gentilly. The move led to a significant increase in enrollment, officials said.

He also is credited with establishing the Holy Cross Primary School, which made Holy Cross the only Catholic school in the New Orleans area for boys from pre-kindergarten through the twelfth grade.

DiGange’s tenure was praised Wednesday by the school’s board chairman, Jeff Entwisle, who said he first knew DiGange when Entwisle was a student. He called him a “one-of-a-kind Holy Cross man.”

“Holy Cross School has been a part of my life for 56 years,” DiGange said. “It is and always will be a very special place to me.”

Follow Jessica Williams on Twitter, @jwilliamsNOLA.