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President Search

President Search

In the summer of 2020, Brett Lowart announced his intention to retire, stepping down as President of Notre Dame High School at the end of the 2019-2020 school year, following 11 years of service. A search is now underway to find Notre Dame's next President who will be hired for a Summer 2021 start.

Communications to the ND Community

List of 4 items.

  • NDHS President Position Description (September 8, 2020)

  • NDHS President Search is Underway (August 20, 2020)

    August 19, 2020

    Dear Notre Dame Community,

    I am writing in my capacity as Chair of the Search Committee to find the next President of Notre Dame High School. As we begin the search for the next President, the Board of Directors and the Search Committee look to you, the Notre Dame community, to help guide our search. We seek your input to ensure that the diverse values of the Notre Dame family are inclusive, articulated and prioritized.

    In June the Board of Directors voted unanimously to partner with Carney, Sandoe & Associates (CS&A) to assist Notre Dame with the search. CS&A is a nationally and internationally recognized leader in recruitment and strategic consulting services for educational institutions. We are fortunate to be working closely with Bob Regan, founder and head of the firm’s Catholic Schools Practice and Dr. Karen Neitzel who has a long history of working with Los Angeles area schools. Bob and Karen have spent the last week meeting with various constituencies of Notre Dame to begin the process.

    We have emailed all of our current and past parents, alumni, faculty, students, friends and donors a link to a Community Survey, which we are asking you to complete and submit no later than August 28th. We seek to learn your thoughts and feelings regarding the qualities you believe to be most desired in our next President. Further, we welcome any nominations you might have for a potential candidate. The information gleaned from the survey will be shared with the Search Committee to assist in our judgment and priorities. 

    The task before the Notre Dame community is a great one. The success of our next President begins with you, the Notre Dame family. On behalf of the Board of Directors and the Search Committee, I thank you in advance for your support as we enter the next era of educating hearts and minds.


    James A. Wagenbach
    Chair, President Search Committee
    Notre Dame High School Class of 1983
  • NDHS Announces Interim Presidential Committee (August 6, 2020)

    August 6, 2020

    The Notre Dame High School Board of Directors is pleased to announce an interim presidential committee to act in lieu of the president during the 2020-21 school year. The carefully assembled committee, composed of Alice Brancale Cotti, Rick Ysasi and Richard Klee will serve as a three-person decision-making body, effective immediately. The trio will share in the responsibilities of providing spiritual leadership, personnel and institutional management, and creating and maintaining a vibrant Catholic culture as they prepare a new hybrid model of instruction to accommodate the current Covid-19 restrictions.

    Justin Rawlins, current Chair of the Notre Dame Board of Directors, stated, "The board is thrilled to be able to continue to work with Alice, Rick, and Rich at the helm over the 2020-21 school year. With their direction over the past few months, the school has already increased financial aid to our students and families to a record high, while maintaining a robust enrollment with the largest entering freshman class in the school’s history. We believe a collaborative approach with our existing leadership will best position the school while we search for a new president. We are universally impressed with Alice, Rick, and Rich’s excellence and integrity. With them, we are well positioned to have a successful year that will build upon principles of continued academic excellence, positive school culture, and advancing the school’s mission of educating hearts and minds, best positioning our students for success."

    Entering her 30th year in secondary education and her 5th year as Notre Dame’s principal, Alice Brancale Cotti has worked in several Catholic and K-12 independent schools throughout Southern California. She brings experience in all areas of school life including teaching, student support, counseling, college advising, and administration. Alice and her husband, Joe, are both products of local Catholic elementary and high schools. They have two sons, both of whom attended Catholic elementary school and the younger, Brendan, is an NDHS alumnus from the recent graduating class of 2020.

    Rick Ysasi has proudly served NDHS for eight years. The Michigan native is the Vice President of Finance and oversees all of the financial and human resource operations at NDHS. Ysasi was a Catholic school student his entire life which helped to fuel his passion for the institution. Most notably, Ysasi attended renowned Catholic universities across the country. He obtained his bachelor's degree from the University of Notre Dame and went on to complete graduate work in Catholic School Administration at Loyola Marymount University. Ysasi is a loving husband, dedicated father to three children, and devoted to NDHS.

    As the Director of Advancement at Notre Dame High School, Richard Klee oversees community engagement and fundraising. He has been in Catholic education for over 30 years, including 26 years at Notre Dame, where his previous positions have included teaching, campus ministry, technology, admissions, and vice-principal. Richard and his wife Analee are the parents of two NDHS graduates and a current junior.

    This committee will consistently report to a diverse five-person ND Executive Committee of the Board of Directors on a weekly basis. They will also be working simultaneously with the ND President Search Committee led by James A. Wagenbach, class of ‘83 and Committee Chairman, to find a replacement for the permanent presidential position. Using the services of executive search firm Carney, Sandoe & Associates, they will conduct a nationwide search for a candidate who possesses strong leadership abilities and can continue to facilitate the Board’s long-term plans and overall goals; our President will be vital in the implementation and representation of our Mission, Philosophy and shared Values.

    Cotti shared the following sentiments, "I appreciate the commitment of the Board and its Executive Committee, and all those who will provide support during this transition in leadership. I have tremendous respect for my administrative team, department chairs, faculty and staff, and I am confident that, working together, we will continue to provide an excellent education for our students in hearts and minds."
  • President Brett Lowart's Retirement Announcement (June 2, 2020)

    June 2, 2020 

    Dear Notre Dame High School Family and Friends, 

    After serving Notre Dame High School since 2009, Brett Lowart has announced that he will be retiring as president of the school effective June 30, 2020. 

    Here is Brett's message to the Notre Dame community. 

    "I will fondly remember with great pride and gratitude the work and progress we have accomplished together over the past eleven years. I will always treasure the many friendships, memories, and Holy Cross spirit we have shared along the way. I have been privileged to interact with so many dedicated faculty and staff, as well as students, parents, and alumni. It has been an honor to represent and promote our school, and it has been my joy to be a part of the Notre Dame family. It is my hope that a new leader will be selected as my successor to become the third President in school history who will continue our zeal for the Holy Cross mission, who will embrace the school family, and who will have the skill, vision, and experience to successfully oversee the next chapter of Notre Dame’s growth. You have my prayers and best wishes as you continue the invaluable Notre Dame mission of educating hearts and minds. Go Knights!" 

    We wish Brett great success in the next stage of his career and join him in his expressions of pride for Notre Dame. We are grateful for his service as we have accomplished so much together. Brett’s active and dedicated service as well as his leadership and collaboration have played a significant role in Notre Dame’s spiritual, academic, and athletic growth. During his tenure, Brett oversaw the construction of the Rawlinson Aquatics Center, Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, and Donahue Fitness Center, the renovation of the Fritz B. Burns Gymnasium, and various other campus improvements, including a new parking structure currently under construction. The school has reached new heights in academic success, college admissions, curriculum growth, extracurricular opportunities, and innovation in educational technology. Most importantly, Brett has emphasized the spiritual life and Holy Cross mission of Notre Dame by working to educate the hearts and minds of our students. With all of this, you could indeed say that Brett has won over our hearts and minds during his years of service to Notre Dame. 

    The Board of Directors is extremely proud of Notre Dame’s faculty, staff, students, parents, and alumni. With the foundation that they and Brett have provided, Notre Dame is well-positioned for continued success. We are looking forward to our next chapter as we take Notre Dame toward a very bright future. 

    Justin Rawlins ‘91 
    Notre Dame High School 
    Chairman of the Board of Directors 

President Search Committee

James A. Wagenbach – Chair, President Search Committee
President, Navitas Group, LLC
Current Member of the Notre Dame High School Board of Directors
Alumnus, Class of 1983

Alvan Arzu
Deputy City Attorney, Los Angeles
Alumnus, Class of 1996

Brother Donald Blauvelt, CSC
Assistant Provincial of Moreau Province
Director, Schools Sponsorship Office
Congregation of Holy Cross

Dave Damus
CEO, System Property Development Company
Current Member of the Notre Dame High School Board of Directors
Alumnus, Class of 1983

Steven Dunn
Chairman/CEO, Munchkin, Inc.
Notre Dame High School Philanthropist

Lenny McNeill
Regional Sales Executive, U.S. Bank Home Mortgage
Current Member of the Notre Dame High School Board of Directors
Parent ‘09, ‘12

Kathy Nikolai
Owner/CEO, Rotating Precision Mechanisms
Current Member of the Notre Dame High School Board of Directors
Parent ‘15

Ron Renaud
Owner, Payday Entertainment Payroll Co.
Former Chair of the Notre Dame High School Board of Directors
Alumnus, Class of 1964
Parent ‘89, ‘94, ‘95, ‘97, ‘01
Grandparent ‘15, ‘17

Ed Romano
Current Member of the Notre Dame High School Board of Directors
Grandparent ‘15

Jennifer Serrano
Department Chair, Modern & Classical Languages Department at Notre Dame High School
Parent ‘17

Eileen Wong
Finance Executive, Twentieth Century Fox TV
Current Member of the Notre Dame High School Board of Directors
Parent ‘15

Note: Justin Rawlins is the current Chair of the Notre Dame High School Board of Directors. Although he is not a standing member of the search committee, he will be communicating with the committee on occasion.
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