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Mike England St. Mary's South Side Catholic High School

Mike England

President

St. Mary's South Side Catholic High School

Location: St. Louis, MO

Founded: 1931

Industry: Secondary Education

In September 2022, Mike England was called to a meeting with Archdiocesan officials and was informed of their intent to close St. Mary’s South Side Catholic High School at the end of the academic year. “We were completely shocked by this news but told them that, no, this would not be acceptable given how important we are to the young men that we serve and to our Dutchtown neighborhood, of which we are the anchor,” said England. “I told them that my work would now be focused on moving the school forward independent of the Archdiocese.”

And, that’s what England and his team did. By December of that year, a five-year financial plan was developed, the school received commitments on $3.3 million in funding, finalized a sponsorship agreement for the Marianists to take over from the Archdiocese and negotiated a three-year lease agreement with the Archdiocese for the building and property.

St. Mary’s South Side Catholic High School is a Catholic Marianist 9-12 all-boys secondary school located in the Dutchtown neighborhood in the city of St. Louis with a mission to provide a quality Catholic education to all young men, especially those who cannot afford it.

“I have a piece of paper on my desk titled ‘What Presidents Do’ that includes the need to absorb chaos, give back calm and provide hope,” said England. “While humility, vision, courage, being authentic, being passionate and bringing out the best in others are also important, these three points I have looked at every day continue to guide me when the going gets tough, which it inevitably will.”

Under England’s leadership, the high school now has the largest freshman class it has had in the last five years, has raised $5.8 million of its $12 million 5-year goal and gave all teachers an 8 percent raise. St. Mary’s South Side Catholic High School is also the first and only high school in the state of Missouri to have a pre-apprenticeship program in the trades as part of a curriculum fully funded for four years by the Missouri Works Initiative.

As the anchor in the Dutchtown neighborhood, St. Mary’s also helped form a non-profit, the St. Joseph Housing Initiative, that purchases homes in the neighborhood and renovates them to sell to low and moderate income families.

England credits his passion for navigating the transitions. “My secret superpower is my passion,” he said. “When I am passionate about something, no one can question it because it comes through genuine, loud and clear.”

For transforming education and the community, England has been named a titan.

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Did you know?

My secret superpower is my passion. When I am passionate about something no one can question it because it comes through genuine, loud and clear. Many times I can inspire others to be passionate as well.

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