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Notre Dame High School Names New President


Notre Dame High School is pleased to announce that after a comprehensive national search, Samuel Carl Laganà has been named the next President of Notre Dame High School. His term as president will begin in the 2021-2022 school year.

Last summer, the Notre Dame Board of Directors engaged Carney Sandoe & Associates, the leading executive search firm for Catholic schools, to assist in the search process for a new president. The Board assembled a committee chaired by James Wagenbach ’83 that ensured various stakeholder groups were able to participate in the process. “The committee did an outstanding job in evaluating an extensive list of candidates in order to select the best person to lead Notre Dame into the future,” said Mr. Wagenbach.

Sam currently serves as the Associate Vice Chancellor at Pepperdine University. He has been with Pepperdine since 2002 and has a long and distinguished history of excellence in educational leadership. Sam holds degrees from Loyola Marymount University (B.A.) and Pepperdine University (M.B.A.). Sam is a servant leader. His strengths include fostering strong community and civic relations as well as coordinating advancement activities as part of a team that raised $440 million in a university-wide campaign. Having served on numerous boards for many worthwhile causes throughout the city, he brings with him a deep, lifelong commitment to Los Angeles, an eagerness to engage with our Notre Dame community, and a desire to bolster students’ voices and sense of belonging.

Board chair Justin Rawlins ’91 joins the Board of Directors and the entire Notre Dame community in welcoming Sam, adding, “We are blessed to enter this new decade under Sam’s leadership as we move forward with a renewed spirit and commitment to our mission. We are delighted that Sam brings with him such a deep connection to higher education, his faith, and our diverse Los Angeles community, all of which are at the heart of Notre Dame.”

Sam is looking forward to joining the Notre Dame community, sharing this message:

“It is truly an honor to be selected as the president and chief executive of Notre Dame High School. I look forward to fully embracing, promoting, and expanding the mission of student success and the commitment to educating the mind and heart. The values of NDHS, offering students the finest academics with co-curricular avenues to a collegiate experience while emphasizing core relational and faith-based principles, is something the faculty, staff, and the Congregation of Holy Cross have established as foundational strengths since 1947. I look forward to getting to the campus in July to join with the faculty, staff, and stakeholders to build on the efforts to advance the finest cross-cultural, diverse, coeducational Catholic high school in greater Los Angeles. My gratitude goes out to Board Chair Justin Rawlins and the entire Board of Directors, as well as the search committee led by Chair Jamie Wagenbach, for this extraordinary opportunity. May our Lady of Victory pray for us!”

Sam joins Notre Dame at an exciting time. NDHS is recognized as one of the leading Catholic high schools in Southern California. The City of Los Angeles has recently approved a master plan that includes approximately 50,000 square feet of new space and multiple improvements to the iconic mission-style campus.

Sam and his wife Eileen reside in Pacific Palisades and are active members of Corpus Christi parish. They have two daughters who were both educated in Catholic schools.

Please join the entire community in welcoming Sam and offering prayers for him in his new role as President of Notre Dame High School.
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