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Gonzaga Preparatory School Announces New Principal


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Gonzaga Preparatory School Announces New Principal

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News Brief by Cassy Benefield

Longtime Vice Principal Derek Duchesne will be the 20th principal in Gonzaga Preparatory School’s history. He will begin his new role July 1.

A 24-year veteran employee of the school, Duchesne emerged as the top candidate through an extensive search process that began in January.

“It is a significant understatement to express that I am excited to be the next Principal of Gonzaga Prep,” Duchesne said in an April 19 press release. “Within my first year of working here, I understood how special of a place this is, so much so that my wife and I wanted our kids to attend and I wanted to build a career here.”

The hiring committee included faculty, staff, board, alumni and parents. During the hiring process, he stood out for his commitment to the magis, a foundational value of Jesuits.

This principle, in Duchesne’s words, means “seeking the more, the better, the greater, for God, [which] helps us discern a constant transformation to better serve the needs of the Gonzaga Prep community.”

President Michael Dougherty offers both high praise and confidence in his leadership.

“Having served as Prep’s vice principal of academics since 2009, Derek has earned the esteem of our community for his passionate commitment to excellence in advancing the mission of Jesuit education,” Dougherty said. “We look forward with great anticipation to the gifts and talents that Derek will bring to his new role, and the impact that his leadership will have on the future of Gonzaga Prep.”

In his time as an administrator, he has led the school in adopting a new bell schedule, guided the adoption of the first 1:1 computing model in eastern Washington and shepherded multiple learning models to support student learning and engagement through COVID.

He also facilitated the co-creation of Gonzaga University’s College in the High School program, making Gonzaga Prep its first partner.

He has taught math and chemistry and currently teaches computer science — now a College in the High School course.

Duchesne replaces Cindy Reopelle, principal of the school since 2012.

Cassy Benefield
Cassy Benefield
Cassy (pronounced like Cassie but spelled with a 'y') Benefield is a wife and mother, a writer and photographer and a huge fan of non-fiction. She has traveled all her life, first as an Army brat. She is a returned Peace Corps volunteer (2004-2006) to Romania where she mainly taught Conversational English. She received her bachelor’s in journalism from Cal Poly Technical University in San Luis Obispo, California. She finds much comfort in her Savior, Jesus Christ, and considers herself a religion nerd who is prone to buy more books, on nearly any topic, than she is ever able to read. She is the associate editor of FāVS.News.

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