After 12 years of dedicated service as principal of Santa Margarita Catholic High School and over 47 years in education, SMCHS Principal Ray Dunne announced to the SMCHS community that he will retire at the conclusion of the 2018-19 school year.
“We are extremely grateful for his years of service and dedication,” said SMCHS President Andy Sulick, a member of Santa Margarita’s charter class of 1991. “His accomplishments since becoming in 2007 the fourth principal of SMCHS are remarkable.”
Dunne’s 47 years in education include 27 years as a Catholic high school principal of both Servite High School in Anaheim and Santa Margarita. While at SMCHS, Dunne successfully led the school through two Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)/Western Catholic Educational Association (WCEA) accreditation cycles, ensuring SMCHS earned high marks and two six-year term endorsements. Under his leadership, the performing arts program flourished, becoming the most-awarded private high school in Orange County, and Santa Margarita’s athletic program achieved unprecedented success. During his tenure, the school took home 88 league titles, 89 team and individual CIF championships, four state championships and two national titles.
“Mr. Dunne’s most vital and lasting legacy is ensuring the school charism, Caritas Christi, is instilled in all areas of school life and serves as the model for all in the SMCHS community,” Sulick said.
While Dunne’s administrative duties keep him busy, above all he makes sure he is present to students. He can be found on the field leading a team in prayer, in the classroom teaching AP U.S. Government and on campus interacting with students, reminding them, “It’s a great day to be an Eagle,” a phrase he coined. He rarely misses a program banquet or a performing arts production, and each year on St. Patrick’s Day he wows students with his traditional Irish jig.
“I consider it a true blessing to serve Him and all of you in my role as principal,” Dunne said as he addressed the Santa Margarita community following the All Saints Day Mass in the Moiso Family Pavilion. “Like the book of Ecclesiastes says, ‘There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven.’ The time has now come for me to step aside and let the Lord direct the future of Santa Margarita…”
Based in Westwood, Mass., Partners in Mission School Leadership Search Solutions will serve as the school’s search counsel, conducting a nationwide search. Devoted exclusively to developing excellence in Catholic school advancement and leadership, Partners in Mission has worked with SMCHS in the areas of strategic planning and advancement.
“We are confident that this process will identify the most ideal candidate able to continue and expand our Caritas Christi charism and the traditions we are all committed to,” Sulick said.