By Emily Drooby
Xavier High School will be ushering in its 55th headmaster, Kim Smith, this coming summer. Kim will be the first female headmaster in the all-boys high school’s 174-year history and will join 16 other women serving as principals or headmasters at 60 Jesuit high schools across the country.
“I’ve heard also from a lot of women who I know who work in Catholic education and for them it caused some pride,” she told Currents News. “I felt really privileged to be able to help elicit pride of women doing this work because I know I am a part of a much wider fabric.”
Small numbers of women in top positions is a national trend. According to the School Superintendents Association, only 24 percent of superintendents in the U.S. are women.
Xavier can now say they’re helping to change that.
“It is a momentous sort of step for us that I’m very excited about,” said Lindsay Willert, who was on the team who helped hire the headmaster.
“It’s always important to have, certainly representation of a diverse group of people in positions of leadership, so it’s inspiring to me especially as a woman who is a position of leadership here,” she added.
During the hiring process, students got to interview Kim. Senior Patrick Burke says she stood out for all of the right reasons.
‘And it wasn’t just listening because she had to sit there and listen to us, she really wanted to listen to us,’ Patrick said. “She really wanted to hear our stories, our backgrounds, hear our thoughts and our opinions, and you could tell she absorbed it.”
It’s a big job. In her new role, Kim will be overseeing Xavier’s robust academic program and proactive student life, including retreats, service projects, athletics and extracurricular activities. She will be succeeding Michael LiVigni, who has served as Xavier’s longest-serving headmaster for the past 15 years. Kim will rely on her faith.
“God wants us to be our best versions of ourselves in the world and we have to be not afraid to say yes to that,” said Kim.
Kim is currently finishing out the year as a vice principal at Boston College High School. She’s been there 20 years and started as a teacher. She will take over at Xavier in July.