Principal’s Message

Dear SVDP Community:

It is with honor and commitment that I serve as the Principal of St. Vincent de Paul High School. Prior to accepting the position I spoke with my family, and we agreed; to serve the students, alumni, families, staff and faculty of SVDP was an opportunity that must be undertaken with devotion and an obligation to continue the legacy of Catholic education in the North Bay. SVDP is the oldest Catholic high school north of the Golden Gate Bridge, surpassing Marin Catholic, Cardinal Newman and Justin Siena High Schools. When a school is fortunate to celebrate a centennial of educating students in the Catholic tradition there is a need to recognize the many people who were instrumental in leading and driving the school during its first century. Reaching a centennial in today’s highly competitive Catholic and private school market is an accomplishment worth celebrating, and we welcome our parents and alumni to attend the Gala in April.

My experience in coaching, teaching, advancement, admissions, and serving in the position of Head of School at two Catholic schools has prepared me as principal. I am fortunate as well as grateful to serve Rev. William Donahue, Pastor and President of St. Vincent de Paul Church and High School. Father Donahue has conveyed his vision for the school and how we are to implement the changes necessary to lay the foundation for the next 100 years.I have identified the following segments of the school that need to be addressed sooner rather than later:

  1. Catholic Identity: It is evident that SVDP cannot be a Roman Catholic school “Catholic by Name Only.” From the religious instruction in the classroom to the message of Catholicism across the curriculum our message must be clear, concise and consistent. “We are a Roman Catholic high school first and foremost.” It is our responsibility as administrators, faculty, staff and coaches to foster the faith and to provide our students the tools to be conscience leaders of families and in society. We must educate the whole student through the lessons in the Gospels.
  2. Curriculum: Parents and alumni have come to expect that a Catholic education at the primary and secondary levels is superior to the competition. We cannot be everything to everyone, but we will center our efforts on developing a strategic plan to implement over the next 1,3 and 5 years with a focus on curriculum enhancement, an increase in foreign language offerings, instruction through advanced technology, the elimination of textbooks, and an increase in graduation requirements. We will exceed the graduation requirements expected by the UC and top private universities in the United States. We will also help open the door to students interested in attending an overseas university or college. Through our college counseling department we will educate students on the many opportunities available to U.S. students which will provide them a competitive edge in today’s global economy.
  3. Interscholastic Athletics: Mustang Athletics has been one of the cornerstones of SVDP. Yet, athletics cannot be the” tail that wags the dog,” with that being said it needs to return to a status of success, competitiveness, dominance, and most importantly a quality experience for our students. SVDP has had so many great teams throughout our history and we must return to achieving the success we have come to expect. As a former Director of Athletics at Marin Catholic it was my goal to expand athletic opportunities for students, hire qualified and quality on campus teacher/coaches, set our goals high, and set our expectations for coaches and student-athletes even higher. Championships are not won by showing up the first day of practice – they are formed and built in the off season with conditioning and strength training. We must expect our coaches and student-athletes to show a level of commitment superior to our competition. The goal I personally have for Mustang athletics is to constantly strive for excellence, and successfully win league and section titles and to achieve State rankings in our men and women’s programs. I understand we are in the process of rebuilding the athletic program, and currently many of the programs are experiencing success, yet my goal is to achieve a higher level of success on the field and court. We must communicate that it is an honor to play for the Mustangs. I am grateful to the benefactors, parents and alumni who have donated to have the finest basketball and volleyball gym and athletic fields among any of the small schools in California.
  4. Alumni: Alumni in many schools have been taken for granted and hear from the school only during a fundraising campaign, or the annual fund drive. My goal is to engage our alumni and thank them, welcome them back to campus and ask them for insight regarding what they would like to see St. Vincent become. The greatest gift an alumnus can give is the gift of their child. I am in the process of implementing an “Alumnus Mentor Program,” a program focused on developing alumni relations through mentoring our students to enter a variety of professions. During the year we will also have alumni focus groups charged with the task of identifying the changes needed to ensure our students are well prepared when they graduate, identifying the physical needs of the campus and ways and events to engage our alumni.
  5. Image and Branding: “Perception is 9/10 of Image.” If a consumer (parent/student) perceives the product (SVDP Education) in a positive or negative manner it will determine the revenue (enrollment). Consistency and clarity is key to branding a product. Instead of reinventing the wheel we will return to the traditional logos that have defined SVDP for the past fifty plus years. We will begin with the primary logo – the traditional “SV” as well as the Mustang logo similar to the one used at SMU. We will also begin brand identification through a “Junior Mustang” program which will focus on developing relationships with students at the elementary school level through our curriculum and co-curricular programs. We will also retain the traditional colors of SVDP and will not add black as part of the color scheme of our uniforms. Also part of our “Re-Branding Campaign” will an educational program focused on our students and the positive role they play in the community. Social media as well as press releases will be utilized to promote the positive aspects of our students as well as featuring alumni and their contributions to our community and society as a whole both locally and globally.

We have a lot of work ahead of us, but it is an opportunity to strive for excellence, to showcase St. Vincent’s to Marin and Sonoma county families and to recognize the many talents of our students and graduates. From our Catholicity to the engagement of our alumni we must always focus on achieving our goals and living the mission of St. Vincent de Paul High School.

Patrick W. Daly