Philip J. Forte will step down at the end of the current school year as principal of The Cardinal Gibbons School in Baltimore to take on the newly created position of director of Lasallian mission. The school has begun a search for a new principal.
Brother Kevin Strong, F.S.C., president of the all-boys middle and high school, announced the change in a Feb. 22 letter to parents and alumni.
The new role will focus on helping students understand the charism of the Christian Brothers, a religious teaching order founded in France by St. John Baptist de La Salle.
Cardinal Gibbons has had an association with the Christian Brothers since 1997 when the school became a member of the Lasallian network of schools.
As director of Lasallian mission, Mr. Forte will report to the president and work jointly with the campus minister and director of guidance.
Mr. Forte said he plans to help new students in the transition from middle to high school. He will work individually with each incoming freshman –
helping each student recognize his strengths and weaknesses, assisting in class selection and academic tracks, and preparing students for college searches.
“It’s a way to inform them about what we’re all about,” said Mr. Forte, a parishioner of St. Benedict in Baltimore.
“St. John Baptist de La Salle had a vision of providing education that is spiritually grounded and materially useful,” he said.
As director of Lasallian mission, Mr. Forte will provide spiritual formation to parents through evening reflections and newsletter writings. Other duties will include working with campus ministry to facilitate retreats, liturgies and service activities. He will also supervise all Lasallian formation activities at the school.
Principal for four years, Mr. Forte has served in a variety of roles at Cardinal Gibbons for 29 years. A Gibbons alumnus, he has been a mathematics teacher, department chair, academic dean and administrator.
Mr. Forte will continue teaching mathematics in his new post.
With fewer men choosing the religious life, Cardinal Gibbons’ president said it’s more important than ever to make sure lay people understand the traditions of his religious order.
“It’s very important to pass that on to the next generation,” said Brother Kevin. “I’m very excited that Phil has stepped forward to take this on. It deepens the Lasallian character of our school.”
Brother Kevin noted that Mr. Forte has studied the educational approach of the Christian Brothers, which focuses on close student-teacher relationships.