Alex Zequeira stepping down as St. John's headmaster: 'This is a very special school'

Alex Zequeira

SHREWSBURY — Saint John’s High School Headmaster Alex Zequeira intends to give up the role at the end of the next school year.

His departure was announced by the school in a news release last week.

Zequeira arrived at Saint John’s, a private, boys day school, in 2016 after working as the president of Nativity School of Worcester for five years, a school he helped found in 2003 when he served as the principal.

Zequeira will step down in June 2024.

“I am immensely proud of what we have accomplished together and look forward to the final 13 months of my time at the school continuing to focus on the growth and strategic vision set forth by our community,” Zequeira said. "I have no doubt that the future holds even greater achievements for this remarkable institution.”

During his time as headmaster, the release said, Zequeira oversaw the implementation of new academic programs, campus facility renovations and expansions, and navigation of the COVID-19 pandemic “as the largest school in the state to be fully open, in-person, five days a week during the 2020-2021 school year."

“Alex’s vision and dedication have propelled Saint John’s High School to new heights,” said Christopher Creed, chair of the board of trustees. “His passion for educational excellence, coupled with his steadfast and deep commitment to the development of well-rounded young men, has had a profound impact on our students.”

In a phone interview Tuesday, Zequeira said that he currently doesn't have anything lined up after his departure and that the next 13 months will be spent figuring out what is best for both his family and his career.

However, he said he is confident he will continue to work in education, likely in a leadership role, but he also wants to see the different types of possibilities available to him after his departure.

"I can't see myself doing anything other than the work that I've been doing because I love it," Zequeira said. "I want to be able to explore options and possibilities and I wanted to do that in the most honest and straightforward way possible."

The decision to depart was mainly personal rather than professional, he said, and came after several months of discussions with his wife during which they figured their family's needs and priorities.

And while the next year will be spent focusing on what comes next and how that will help meet those needs and priorities, it will also be spent making sure that the transition to the new headmaster is handled smoothly next summer.

While he could have departed sooner, Zequeira wanted to "pay it forward" to not only make sure the school was in a "better" place than he "found it," but also make sure he was available to the new headmaster for any support they may need before they begin July 1.

The board of trustees immediately appointed a search committee after Zequeira informed them of his plans to depart, he said, to select a new headmaster by the fall.

Currently, the committee is made up of members of the board, but it will grow to include "constituencies" from the rest of the school community, such as faculty, staff and alumni, Zequeira said.

"This is a very special school that has a very important and unique mission in our community," he said. "I couldn't be more grateful to have spent my time spent the last seven to eight years here."

This article originally appeared on Telegram & Gazette: Alex Zequeira stepping down as headmaster of St. John's in Shrewsbury