President Tom Kiely: “I Live on Zoom!”


Autumn Mayer, Staff Writer, Journalism I

Notre Dame’s new president, Dr. Tom Kiely, started six days before everything shut down due to COVID-19. 

“It has been a zoom-filled move northward!” Kiley said. 

Kiely is originally from New York and grew up just east of New York City. 

He spent his childhood in Catholic schools, majoring in English and Theology at the University of Georgetown in Washington DC. 

After college, Kiely worked as a teacher and in the restaurant business, which is where he met his wife. 

They now have two adult children, both of whom were recently married.

“I had the good fortune to go to graduate school at the Catholic University of America studying religious education and culture and to culinary school as well,” he said. “I returned to Georgetown years later to study Catholic Education and Public Policy.”

After graduate school, he worked at Our Lady of Good Counsel High School in Maryland, teaching religion, anthropology and drama for sixteen years. 

He directed the IB and AP programs and later left Good Counsel to become the Principal of Camden Catholic High School in New Jersey. 

Kiely also directed an institute to assist and instruct Catholic school leaders at Marquette University for seven and a half years. 

Through Marquette, he found Notre Dame. 

Kiely was looking for a job, and his wife didn’t want to move across the country again, so he eventually applied for the role of president at Notre Dame and got the job. 

“I think I was charmed by all the people I met the day of my interviews: the Board, Mr. Browne and Mr. Masarik, the faculty, the staff, and the several students I spoke with,” Kiely said.

He added that he misses getting to know and socializing with people. 

“I look forward to when [Notre Dame] pulses with activity again soon.”

If you’re wondering what the difference is between president and principal, Mr. Browne focuses on the faculty, students, and full instructional program of the school, and Dr. Kiely works on longer-term school planning. 

One of the major parts of his job is reviewing Notre Dame’s mission effectiveness as a Catholic high school in preparing students for both college and life. 

He works closely with stakeholders–such as alumni and donors–the Board of Education and the Corporate Board, Mr.Geno McKenna (Director of Development), Mrs. Sarah VanGrunsven (Director of Enrollment Management) and Mr. Ken Flaten (Director of School Finance and Operations).  

His responsibilities at Notre Dame have been impacted immensely by COVID-19. 

“I have not been able to meet people, so I live on Zoom. We have gotten very creative about a great deal of things and are trying to establish a vision for NDA after this crisis has passed,” he said. 

Kiely is also in charge of guiding the process to coming back to in-person school, though there are many people involved. 

“We are hopeful to arrive at a solution soon,” he added. “Stay tuned!”