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President Search Update

On behalf of the Academy of Holy Angels Board of Trustees, we are pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. David Sorkin as the school's new President effective July 1, 2024.

Dr. David Sorkin

                            Dr. David Sorkin

Dr. Sorkin comes to Academy of Holy Angels (AHA) with significant leadership experience in Catholic education, most recently as the Head of School at Saint Hubert Catholic School in Chanhassen, Minnesota. During his time at Saint Hubert, David increased enrollment to the highest levels in school history, demonstrated fiscal stewardship by partnering with the finance council, administration, and faculty to eliminate a cash flow deficit, and implemented culturally responsive welcoming strategies for primarily Spanish-speaking students. He began his career as a music teacher at Saint Agnes in St. Paul and served as teacher and Dean of Students at Providence Academy in Plymouth before becoming Assistant Principal at Seton Catholic Preparatory High School in Chandler, Arizona. David was a National Adjunct Faculty Member for the Mary Ann Remick Leadership Program at the University of Notre Dame where he taught graduate-level executive leadership courses designed to align organizational priorities with mission objectives. He is also a Research Fellow for the Roche Center for Catholic Education at Boston College, and his qualitative research study on the response of urban, Catholic school principals to the COVID-19 pandemic was presented at the 2022 American Education Research Association national conference and published in the Fall 2023 issue of the Journal of Catholic Education. David has a Bachelor of Music in Church Music from St. Olaf College, a Master of Arts in Educational Administration from the University of Notre Dame, and a Doctorate of Education in Leadership and Innovation from Arizona State University.

This appointment is the culmination of a seven-month search process by the Board of Trustees, with the Search Committee comprised of the Executive Committee of the Board and led by past Board Chair, Fr. Mike Tix. The Board was pleased to partner with Gayle Stoffel, Associate Director of Catholic Schools: Leadership, Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, who provided expertise and guidance throughout the search process. The Search Committee conducted focus groups with the AHA leadership team, faculty and staff members, and the Sisters of St. Joseph, and surveyed current families, alumni, and friends of AHA, to gather input on qualities to seek for the new president, which were incorporated into the interview rubric. The nationwide search resulted in eight qualified candidates who were rigorously evaluated by the Search Committee through a series of meetings and interviews over the course of two months. Our finalist, Dr. David Sorkin, was invited to interview with the AHA leadership team and Board of Trustees. On February 26, the Board of Trustees voted unanimously to extend an offer to Dr. David Sorkin as President of Academy of Holy Angels. Board Chair Yvonne Houle-Gillard and Search Committee Chair Fr. Mike Tix joined Dr. David Sorkin in a meeting with Archbishop Hebda where the Archbishop gave his blessing to hire David as the next President of Academy of Holy Angels, effective July 1, 2024. 

Dr. David Sorkin has a strong Catholic faith and lifelong commitment to Catholic education, starting with his own grade school and high school education in St. Louis, MO. His commitment to improving academic excellence at Seton Catholic through innovative corporate partnerships, technology initiatives, faculty mentoring, and support for under-performing students led to recognition as a Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education. David understands the business side of running a private school and has experience developing and executing strategic plans, increasing enrollment, raising funds, and maintaining a balanced budget. He understands the president-principal school model well, having served as Assistant Principal at Seton Catholic Preparatory High School and Head of School at Saint Hubert. His past experiences in high school and elementary school leadership position him to build stronger relationships with our partner grade schools, as he understands firsthand what middle school leaders and parents are seeking from the high schools their students choose to attend. It was clear when we checked David’s references that he has a demonstrated ability to build and sustain strong relationships and connections over time. They provided examples of his collaborative leadership style, his commitment to Catholic education, and emphasized that David was meant to work in a high school setting. We also learned from his references that he has been supported by mentors who saw his leadership potential early on in his career and continue to invest in his personal growth and development. David brings unique expertise in building and strengthening board leadership as a result of his role teaching graduate-level Executive Leadership courses at Notre Dame and coaching other leaders. When asked to describe his leadership style, David describes himself as the first follower, with his actions pointing to the mission of the school and to Jesus Christ.  David’s education and prior positions have well-prepared him for the role of President at Academy of Holy Angels.

Dr. Sorkin shared with us, “I am thrilled to join Academy of Holy Angels, and I am excited to partner with the faculty, staff, students, parents, alumni, and friends of AHA to continue strengthening the excellence found within this amazing community. Since its founding by the Sisters of St. Joseph, AHA has proudly served as a beacon for Catholic secondary education, and together, we will ensure Holy Angels continues to be that shining light for the families and students we serve.”

Outside of school, David’s interests include international travel, food and culture, music, college football, and Caribou Coffee. David, his wife Kelly, and two sons attend Pax Christi in Eden Prairie. We are delighted to welcome them to the AHA family.

Mr. Tom Shipley will retire from his position as President on June 30, 2024. Dr. David Sorkin will begin his role as President on July 1, 2024. Tom will work with David throughout the month of July to ensure a smooth transition. In the months ahead, there will be opportunities for the AHA community to meet and get to know Dr. Sorkin.

Thank you for your patience, prayers, and support throughout this search process. I would like to extend my thanks and gratitude to fellow members of our Search Committee:  Committee Chair Fr. Mike Tix, Ray Longo, Pam Matthews Kerber '73, Jon Meyer, Dave Pelner '82, and Michael Steinlage. Thank you to the AHA Board of Trustees for their support and encouragement throughout the process. We would also like to thank Gayle Stoffel, Associate Director of Catholic Schools: Leadership, Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, for her expert guidance throughout the search process. We want to especially thank Tom Shipley for his leadership, dedication, and commitment to AHA these past thirteen years. He is leaving AHA in a much stronger position than he found it, and we are forever grateful to him. We ask for God’s blessing on Tom and his wife Beth as they start writing the next chapter in their lives. We will forever treasure their friendship and support of AHA.

I hope that you will join me in extending a warm welcome to Dr. David Sorkin as he works with us to build upon the tremendous legacy established by the Sisters of Saint Joseph, Tom Shipley and prior presidents, and our faculty, staff, and administration, so future AHA students may continue to achieve full potential to excel intellectually, to live spiritually, to lead responsibly, to act justly, and to serve selflessly.

God Bless You,

Yvonne Houle-Gillard
Chair, AHA Board of Trustees
(Parent of Alex ’18 and Josh ’22)

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