Father Ryan selects Principal Paul Davis as next president

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Paul Davis

Father Ryan High School Principal Paul Davis has been selected as the school’s new president, according to Bill Stejskal, chairman of the Father Ryan Board of Trustees.

Davis, a 1981 graduate of Father Ryan, will become the 15th head of school in Father Ryan’s 98-year history when he begins as president on July 1, 2022.  He has served as principal since 2007.

Stejskal made the announcement on campus on Monday, May 16 at a special assembly of faculty and staff. He served as co-chair of the Advisory Team for the presidential search, alongside Brian Cooper, Chancellor and COO of the Diocese of Nashville, and Dr. Rebecca Hammel, Chief Schools Officer and Superintendent.

Our search process produced outstanding candidates from across the country,” Stejskal said, “but it became clear to the entire Advisory Team that Paul was the right person for us to recommend to Bishop Mark Spalding to lead Father Ryan High School.  The bishop agreed with that recommendation. Paul’s commitment to Catholic education, his love for these students, and his deep connection to this community provided a vision for the school’s future that gave all of us confidence in his leadership.  He will be an exceptional president of Father Ryan.”

Davis has been with Father Ryan for the last 36 years, first as a teacher and assistant coach and then as Dean of Students from 1998 until 2007, when he became principal. He expressed his gratitude on his selection. “I am humbled by this opportunity and the trust our community is placing in me,” Davis said. “I am privileged to have spent my adult life serving the Father Ryan community. This school develops, molds, and educates young adults not only for academic achievements, but also, most importantly, for meaningful lives as Catholic Christians long after their days spent on our campus.”

He went on to say, “As we approach our school’s centennial, I look forward to working with our outstanding leadership team, faculty, and staff to continue to advance our mission, and in the process, strengthen our community and our faith for the next 100 years.”

“Paul has been a strong advocate for Catholic education and an important part of this school community for most of his life,” said Bishop Spalding, head of the Diocese of Nashville. “I am confident that through his faithful leadership of Father Ryan and his deep commitment to these students, Father Ryan High School will continue to be an example of excellence in education and in our faith.”

Stejskal said that Davis will begin the process this summer of finding the school’s next principal.

Paul Davis, right, has been named as the new president of Father Ryan High School, succeeding Jim McIntyre, left, who has accepted the position of president of Lake Highland Preparatory School in Orlando, Florida. Davis and McIntyre, pictured at this year’s graduation ceremonies on Saturday, May 14, have worked side-by-side at Father Ryan for the last 17 years. Davis, a 1981 graduate of Father Ryan, has worked at the school for the last 36 years, including as a teacher, coach, dean of students and principal. Photo courtesy of Father Ryan High School

Davis earned a bachelor’s degree from Tennessee Technological University and returned to Father Ryan in the fall of 1986 to teach English. He later served as coach of freshmen volleyball, baseball, and freshmen basketball while also serving as moderator of the Student Council. In 1992, he earned a Master of Arts degree in Educational Psychology and Counselor Education from Tennessee Tech.

A native Nashvillian, Davis and his entire family are products of Catholic education. He is a graduate of Christ the King School, and his wife, Teresa (Sharp) Davis, their children, his father, all of his siblings, and many of his nieces and nephews are graduates of Father Ryan High School. 

Dr. Hammel expressed her enthusiasm for the new president. “I have had the distinct pleasure of working with Paul for the last four years, and I have seen his commitment to Catholic education first-hand,” she said. “He is the embodiment of the school’s message that its students will be known and loved, because he is known and loved by this community of students, parents, alumni, and faculty.  We have found a wonderful leader for Father Ryan, and I am excited to work with Paul and his team to advance our mission for the benefit of all our school communities.”

Davis succeeds Jim McIntyre, who announced in January that he will be the president of Lake Highland Preparatory School in Orlando, Florida. Davis thanked McIntyre, the longest-serving head of school in Father Ryan history, for his leadership and his example.

“The last 17 years with Jim as head of school have been exceptional ones for Father Ryan, for our students, and our community,” he said, “and I have had the opportunity and delight of working closely with him as he led this school to a new standard in Catholic education. He is a close friend, an outstanding mentor, and an exceptional partner in Catholic education. I am grateful for what he has done for our community and for me in advancing our tradition of faith, knowledge, and service.”

Stejskal thanked the entire Advisory Team for their commitment and their work. In addition to the three co-chairs, the presidential search Advisory Team included:

  • Father Mark Beckman, Pastor, Saint Henry Church
  • David Bohan, Past Chair, Father Ryan Board of Trustees
  • John Bumpus, Vice Chair, Father Ryan Board of Trustees
  • David Glascoe, Past Chair, Father Ryan Board of Trustees
  • Chris Meriwether, Chair, Father Ryan Alumni Board
  • Julie (Shaninger) Norfleet, Past Chair, Father Ryan Board of Trustees

About Father Ryan High School

Father Ryan High School, founded in 1925, is a coeducational diocesan Catholic high school serving more than 875 students in grades 9-12.  More information is available at fatherryan.org.

About the Diocese of Nashville

The Diocese of Nashville was established in 1837 and initially included the entire state of Tennessee. Today its territory covers 38 counties in Middle Tennessee. Its 60 churches serve a diverse community with sacraments celebrated in several languages including English, Spanish, Vietnamese, and Korean. Ministries of the diocese include religious education, youth ministries, vocation formation, and Catholic Charities, which provides social services and assistance to those in vulnerable circumstances throughout the region. More information is available at dioceseofnashville.com.

About Catholic Schools Office

Operating under the umbrella of the Diocese of Nashville, the Catholic Schools Office serves 16 diocesan and parochial schools educating more than 5,000 students in prekindergarten through grade 12. Additionally, the diocese is home to three independent Catholic schools. More information is available at dioceseofnashville.com/catholic-schools.

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