This week, we spoke with Mr. Anthony Day ’87, president of the Loyola Blakefield School in Towson, Maryland.
From Teacher to President
When Anthony Day graduated from CBA, he did not imagine that his undergraduate and graduate studies would lead to a career in education, and eventually to a position of genuine leadership in Catholic secondary education.
After completing a bachelor’s degree in English at St. Peter’s College and subsequently a master’s degree in education at Fordham University, Day landed his first teaching position at the nearby Fordham Preparatory School. He went on to teach English at Oak Knoll School in Summit and later at Regis High School in Manhattan, before serving as assistant principal at Regis.
It was during his time at Regis that a call came from the Loyola Blakefield School in Towson, Maryland. “I was hired as the principal in 2008,” Day said during a phone interview. “In 2013, I was asked to step in as interim president, and then I was asked to stay on as permanent president.”
Loyola Blakefield is an all-boys Catholic, college preparatory school, founded by the Jesuits in 1852. The school hosts students from grades six through 12. Day’s role involves overseeing the entire operation of the school, which enrolls approximately 1,000 students in the combined middle and upper schools.
“Much like Brother Frank at CBA, I act as the CEO of the school,” Day said. “A large part of what I do is in development. I am one of the chief solicitors on campus, I’m responsible for overseeing the financial side and then I manage the strategic planning of our school.”
Challenges and Enjoyments of the Job
Day has seven department heads that report to him on a day-to-day basis: the school principal and the directors of finance, development, communications, technology, mission & identity, and admissions.
“The way I look at it is that one of my jobs is to empower those seven people to take complete control of their department, because that’s how our school will operate most effectively,” he said.
Loyola Blakefield is in the early stages of a new capital campaign, which means Day is busy fostering relationships with current and prospective donors, while also managing the school’s operating budget.
“Managing a 20 million dollar operating budget is definitely one of the biggest challenges,” Day said. “My goal is to manage that budget in a favorable fashion where our tuition increases are at a minimum, I can provide my faculty with competitive salaries and we can give financial assistance to those kids who deserve to be here. If there’s anything that keeps me up at night, it’s those three things.”
Day enjoys the community that has been built at Loyola Blakefield over its long history. “A big part of this job is building relationships. I get to spend time with a lot of people between parents, students, alumni and donors. Having relationships with these great people is what can make my job really fun,” he said.
He also relishes the long-range, forward-looking perspective that his role requires. “I love the strategic side of things and thinking with that mindset,” Day said. “It’s almost like a sustainability puzzle, where you are trying to see where the pieces fit. I look at my job as a guy who is working here and now, but also as the guy who needs to make sure our school is here 20 or 50 years from now.”
His Academy Days
Day laughs when he remembers how intimidating CBA can be to an incoming freshman, from the tall seniors with full beards to the school’s reputation for academic excellence. But one person, in particular, made him and his classmates feel that the Academy was the perfect place for them.
“Brother Andrew,” Day declared about the longtime CBA principal and president. “Everyone thought the world of that man. From day one when we nervously stepped into CBA, Brother Andrew made us feel like this is where we belonged and could succeed.”
After he got past the freshman jitters, Day joined the indoor track team. He gradually realized that his running skills were not up to the CBA caliber. He’s still surprised, he says, that Coach Tom Heath let him stay on for as long as he did. Eventually, Day became involved in the robust intramural program. Some of his best memories, he says, are of time with his friends playing football out on the back field.
Day met Dr. (now Rev.) Garry Koch during his early days at CBA, and like many CBA graduates, he recalls “Doc” as a perfect example of how CBA faculty really cared about their work. “Doc was a young guy when I started at CBA and from the beginning, you could tell that this guy cared about his students, was very mission-driven and someone who was available for you all the time,” Day said.
The CBA Difference
“You don’t realize the impact that an institution like CBA can have on you right away,” Day noted. “It was just recently that I began to reminisce about my experiences at CBA. There’s no doubt in my mind that I am a better man, son, husband, father, Catholic and leader for having a CBA education.”
Something that still stands out in Day’s mind about CBA is the fact that the school makes a point of holding its students accountable. From his coursework to getting disciplined after cutting through the woods during the mile run, Day believes that the Academy’s pillar of accountability is invaluable to students.
“The Brothers and teachers expected a lot out of us. As a teenager, you don’t love it all the time, but now you realize what that kind of environment does for you,” he said.
Day sees the importance of his CBA experience in his current work as a school president, and he credits the Academy for instilling a very specific type of ambition in him. “CBA gave me this unique drive and desire to push myself and do more,” Day said. “One of the main reasons that I’m in the position that I am today is because of that drive to seek more and make yourself vulnerable. That all came out of CBA.”
Meanwhile, Day has the utmost respect for the way CBA continues to move onward and upward. “A great thing about CBA is that everyone involved there keeps things moving forward,” he commented. “There’s no telling what schools could pop up and challenge CBA, and I applaud the efforts of everyone there who makes CBA the school of choice for high school boys in Monmouth and Ocean Counties.”
Who’s the next Alumni Spotlight?
Suggest a graduate! Contact Jason Lutz, associate director, development by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or call (732-747-1959 x 220)