New Catholic school president Joseph M. McColgan talks education, aspirations
After Bruce Robinson announced his resignation from the role of president of Saints John Neumann and Maria Goretti Catholic High School, 1736 S. 10th St., in March to pursue other opportunities, the school was left searching to find a viable replacement. Months later it announced Joseph M. McColgan has been selected to assume this position, his employment having become effective on Aug. 1.
A joint effort between the school’s board of directors and administrators from the Office of Catholic Education and Faith in the Future, McColgan’s selection came as a result of his admirable past achievements in the field of education and beyond. For example, upon graduation from Archbishop Ryan High School in Northeast Philadelphia in 1980, McColgan went on to obtain his bachelor’s degree in political science from Villanova University. He has also obtained a master’s degree in business administration from Villanova, and embarked on a second master’s program in international relations from San Diego State University.
“Education is important because it’s the basis of everything that we do,” McColgan said. “The world and environment are changing, and education helps prepare us all for tomorrow.
Aside from elementary and secondary schooling, McColgan also served as a member of the armed forces from 1984 to ’89, after earning his bachelor’s degree and before his master’s. In the role of officer, he gave five years of his life to the United States Navy at the Naval Amphibious Base in California, before receiving an honorable discharge.
Upon moving forward from his military career, McColgan sought new employment in the field of finance, as he built his managerial resume through working at renowned institutions including Fisher Investments, Wells Fargo Private Bank, SEI Investment Co., Philadelphia Consulting Group, LLC and Merrill Lynch.
“Entering the world of investments gave me an entrepreneurial role, and the opportunity to build and create things with an entrepreneurial mentality,” McColgan said. “It was the vehicle that allowed me to do what I wanted to do, but I’ve always been passionate about education. I feel that we owe it to the children and leaders of tomorrow to provide them with the best education possible.”
Continuing to advance his managerial prowess, in 2015 McColgan founded Acretive/212°, an early development start-up. Through this opportunity, he was able to utilize his skills to create a “full-service hands-on Office of Supervisory Jurisdiction.” Ultimately, this service helped the company provide its clients with “professional marketing and personal brand building, strategic and career coaching; professional development; training, as well as objective financial advice and investment research.
“Everything I’ve done has been to solve problems from an entrepreneurial standpoint by looking and situations and finding solutions to make things better,” McColgan said.
Further adding to his leadership credentials, the 55-year-old has also been a candidate for public office several times, pursuing a Philadelphia City Council-at-Large seat in 2010–2011, and was a previous board member of the Pennsylvania Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority. Today, he still rests as a board member for the Philadelphia Veterans Comfort House, the East Torresdale Civic Association, Catholic Philopatrian Literary Institute and is co-chair of the Development Advisory Board of Prevent Child Abuse PA.
In terms of his of religious affiliations, McColgan remains a parishioner of Saint Katherine of Siena Parish, located in Northeast Philly. Thus, he plans to use his passion for education and involvement in the church to help the Catholic education at Neumann-Goretti flourish.
“I plan to carry on and attempt to fill the shoes of [Robinson],” McColgan said. “He turned the school around and stopped the bleeding. If we need to do some tweaking around the edges we will, but I plan to pick up the ball where he left it and run it down the field.”
Despite being in this period of transition, McColgan also plans to continue the school’s focus on positive transformation “under the guidance of teachers and administrators.” Committed to championing collaborative relationships, he intends on assessing all elements of the school while increasing fundamentals including enrollment, development and fundraising efforts. He added he also has some big ideas planned for the future.
“We extend our sincere gratitude to the interview committee and all who helped to bring this process to a successful conclusion. Collaboration is a core value in our organization,” Saints John Neumann and Maria Goretti stated in a press release. “We believe that Mr. McColgan, along with current administrators at Saints John Neumann and Maria Goretti, are laser focused on equipping saints for life, in this world and the next.”