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  • Feb
  • 9

St. John’s names Nativity School leader as its new headmaster

Posted By February 9, 2016 | 1:11 pm | Featured Article #3

SHREWSBURY – Alex Zequeira, president of the Nativity School of Worcester, has been named headmaster at St. John’s High School, effective July 1, the school announced Tuesday.
He will succeed Michael W. Welch, who has been headmaster since July 1, 2001. Mr. Welch, an alumnus and the first lay headmaster of the school sponsored by the Xaverian Brothers, had announced his retirement, effective at the end of the school year.
While at Nativity Mr. Zequeira, “oversaw a growth in enrollment, expansion of the endowment, and broadening of curriculum all the while acting as the school’s spiritual leader on behalf of the Jesuit Provincial. Saint John’s and Nativity Worcester have built a close relationship for many years,” the St. John’s announcement stated.
“I am grateful for the opportunity to join and serve the community at Saint John’s High School,” Mr. Zequeira said.  “For nearly 120 years, Saint John’s has been a school deeply rooted in its Catholic and Xaverian mission to educate the whole person, promoting the values of humility, trust, zeal, compassion, and simplicity.
“Saint John’s has an enduring legacy of excellence and an unparalleled commitment and loyalty from thousands of alumni, current students and families, and outstanding faculty, staff, and administration who understand that education is not limited to the four walls of a classroom.
“These committed educators value opportunities to connect with students and create enduring and transformative relationships. I congratulate Michael Welch on his passionate and committed service to Saint John’s over the last 15 years as Headmaster. He served his alma mater well.”
Mr. Welch has been asked  to “assist St. John’s in the transition process to ensure continuity, act as a resource for Alex and assist the board in project work over the coming year,” according to a letter from the school administration to the St. John’s High School community.
According to a news release from the Nativity School, Mr. Zequeira announced his departure from Nativity and his new appointment to the school’s community Tuesday.
“Over the past five years, I believe that we have accomplished a tremendous amount at Nativity Worcester and the school is in a very strong position,” he said. “We will soon successfully complete a three-year, $10.5 million major fundraising campaign that is crucial to our future sustainability and raised awareness of the challenges facing boys and young men in education and in our community. I’m very grateful for the opportunity I’ve had since returning to Nativity Worcester.”
He was the school’s first principal, is its third president. Nativity, a Jesuit-sponsored school,  is Worcester’s only private, tuition-free middle school for boys from low-income backgrounds. He will stay at the school until June 30.
“This is a momentous occasion in the history of our school,” the St. John’s letter stated. “Alex is the first generation American born to Cuban immigrants. He understands on a personal level the importance of education, opportunity, citizenship and faith. He is bilingual and has formed deep roots in the Worcester community. He and his wife Jessika have three children, including their oldest who is a current student at St. John’s.”
Carl Rapp, chairman of the Saint John’s Board of Trustees, said, “the Board of Trustees believes that we have selected an exceptional leader as a result of a thorough and competitive search process which involved representatives from our faculty, administration, alumni, students and parents.  Alex embodies the most important qualities that we were all looking for in the next Headmaster of Saint John’s and who also has the benefit of having deep roots in the Worcester community. ”
Mr. Zequeira graduated from the of the College of the Holy Cross in 1994 with a bachelor’s degree in history. He is expected to complete work on his master’s degree in education from Boston College this year. He taught at the Kingswood-Oxford School in West Hartford, Conn., where he also was assistant director of admissions and coached soccer, basketball and baseball. He then returned to Worcester and was principal at the Nativity School from 2003-04. Then he went home to his native Miami to teach social studies at his alma mater, Belen Jesuit Preparatory School, where he also coached football, basketball and track and field.
He then was dean of the upper school at the Wooster School in Danbury, Conn., where he taught Spanish, European and Latin American history and coached basketball and softball. He became president of the Nativity School in 2011.
He is chair of the Members Advisory Council of the national Nativity Miguel Coalition and the Latino  Education Institute at Worcester State University and vice chair of the United Service Executives of Central Massachusetts.
He is a board member of the United Way of Central Massachusetts, Worcester Education Collaborative, Latin American Health Alliance, the Devereux School and is a corporator of the Greater Worcester Community Foundation.