New president named at De La Salle

By: Maria Allard | Warren Weekly | Published March 4, 2015

John Knight

WARREN — During his first visit to De La Salle Collegiate High School, John Knight was met with a warm welcome from staff and students.

Therefore, he will feel right at home in his new position as the next president of the all-boys Catholic school.

The school’s Board of Trustees selected the Bloomfield Hills resident to succeed Br. Thomas Lackey, FSC, as president after he announced last June that he would step down at the end of the 2014-15 school year following four years in the position. Board Chairman Dr. John Moore made the announcement.

“We could not be more pleased to announce (that) John Knight is joining our De La Salle family. He is well-equipped to represent the Lasallian charism that makes our Catholic educational institution so unique,” Moore, a 1975 DLS graduate, said in a prepared statement. “We are also excited that he brings his considerable experience to help forward our strategic plan, build upon the great things that are happening right now at our school, and help La Salle to become an ever more important and positive change agent in the greater southeast Michigan community.”

Knight was hired as the first lay president of De La Salle to care for the mission of the school and to work with the board. As president, he is basically the CEO of the school and receives a salary.

He will have the responsibility of reinforcing and strengthening the school’s Lasallian mission, will work toward achieving the school’s strategic plan, and will serve as the school community’s faith leader. The new president takes office July 1 following a formal transition beginning May 1.

“I’m very blessed and excited about it,” said Knight, who along with his wife, Susan, has two children, Elizabeth, 14, and Alexandra, 12. “My hope is to be able to serve at De La Salle along with the board, and my faith will be enriched and grow. I will certainly get to know the parents and be supportive and work with the formation of their sons.”

According to Knight, DLS has represented the spirit of St. John Baptist de La Salle well. Knight, who grew up in Toledo, proved the ideal candidate for the school’s presidency.

“I’m a product of a very Catholic family and the product of a Catholic education,” he said. “I’ve always had a close relationship with God and prayer and the sacraments.”

Knight brings years of experience to DLS. He spent 28 years in Catholic secondary education. That includes serving as school president at St. Ignatius Prep in San Francisco, California, and Canisius High School in Buffalo, New York.

He attended St. John’s Jesuit High School in Toledo and then went on to earn a bachelor’s of education degree from the University of Toledo. The new head of DLS also holds a master’s of religious education degree from Chicago’s Loyola University. Knight was a Jesuit seminarian in 1983.

Knowing that he wanted to eventually marry and have a family, he left the order six years later and met his wife several years after that.

According to DLS officials, Knight joins the school “at a very exciting time.” The school, in its 89th year, enjoys a steady enrollment of 800 students.

Every student in the Class of 2014 earned college acceptance, including financial aid awards totaling more than $11 million.

In October 2014, DLS was approved as an International World School for the implementation of the International Baccalaureate (IB) curriculum. And on the sports front, the Pilots won the first football state title in the school’s history.

Knight’s appointment followed a seven-month search process led by a subcommittee of the Board of Trustees. It involved stakeholders from within the De La Salle community. Br. Lackey, President Emeritus Br. Robert Carnaghi, FSC, and Br. Patrick McNally, FSC, interviewed each finalist.