Head of a school in San Francisco reflects on his education at Notre Dame High School and the University of Notre Dame.
Andrew Currier graduated from Notre Dame High School in Harper Woods, Mich., in 1999. After undergrad at Grand Valley State University where he also played baseball, Currier went on to the University of Notre Dame and earned an M.Ed. and started a career in education that has led to the top position at a prominent Catholic high school in California.
He recently checked in with the Notre Dame Alumni Association to talk about what he’s been up to recently as well as his time under the tutelage of the Marist Fathers at Notre Dame. He also discussed his tenure at the University of Notre Dame where he received his master’s degree.
“I came to Notre Dame High School in Harper Woods as a sophomore. My father was the commanding officer of the Coast Guard Air Station on Selfridge Air Base in Macomb County. after he was transferred from Montgomery, Ala., to the Detroit area. I had attended Montgomery Catholic Prep in Alabama for my freshman year, which also was another phenomenal, life-changing place. Montgomery Catholic was co-ed and the southern manners of my schoolmates were more refined and gentile than I was used to.
“Harper Woods Notre Dame was a culture shock, not only in terms of the single-sex nature of the school, but also because of the rough, brotherly way people treated each other. Ultimately, I fell in love with the place and never felt more loved in return by my schoolmates and teachers. My mother actually worked on the capital campaign during that time and I would see her in the hallways from time to time. I had to be on my best behavior as all of my teachers knew right where to find her.
“My Notre Dame/Marist Fathers education served me extremely well, not only in undergrad, but also in my graduate work. I went on to graduate a semester early from college and then taught at a Marist Brothers School in Miami, Fla., called Monsignor Edward Pace, or Pace High School. This was yet another culture shock for me as a young man. The fast paced, rapido, Cuban culture was entirely foreign to me. I also coached baseball in the evenings at St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Fort Lauderdale, which is as true an athletic factory as there ever was. We won the Florida state championship that season and the two other coaches were veteran NY Yankees. I was there only briefly as I was accepted into the University of Notre Dame's Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE) teaching program where I earned my M.Ed. and also taught middle school in South Central Los Angeles.
“The University of Notre Dame teaching program was phenomenal yet challenging in so many ways. Notre Dame is such an incredible place and a true beacon of hope for the faith in our contemporary society. I ended up teaching for a few years, then, at age 26, I was hired as principal for a PK-8 Catholic school in the Archdiocese of Washington – St. Joseph in Beltsville, Md. I was principal there for four years and then decided to move my young family (Sarah, my wife, and our two children, Pauline and Xavier) back to South Bend, Ind., to work for the Holy Cross Fathers as a principal for their mission school, St. Adalbert. It was really a dream come true and I think my five years at St. Adalbert will be probably some of the most important years. We served a poor population of about 97 percent Latinos at a 96 percent poverty and our school went from utterly failing academically to becoming one of the top performers in the city of South Bend in about three years. It was the incredible work of dedicated, brilliant teachers concentrated in one school.”
Editor’s note: Currier recently has accepted the position of president of Archbishop Riordan High School in San Francisco, Calif. Look for more on him in the coming weeks and months.
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About Notre Dame Preparatory School and Marist Academy
Notre Dame Preparatory School and Marist Academy is a private, Catholic, independent, coeducational day school located in Oakland County. The school's upper division enrolls students in grades nine through twelve and has been named one of the nation's best 50 Catholic high schools (Acton Institute) four times since 2005. Notre Dame's middle and lower divisions enroll students in jr. kindergarten through grade eight. All three divisions are International Baccalaureate "World Schools." NDPMA is conducted by the Marist Fathers and Brothers and is accredited by the Independent Schools Association of the Central States and the North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement. For more on Notre Dame Preparatory School and Marist Academy, visit the school's home page at www.ndpma.org.