New York News

Xavier High School Appoints First Female Headmaster


CHELSEA — Xavier High School will be ushering in its 55th headmaster, Kim Smith, this coming summer. Smith will be the first female headmaster in the all-boys high school’s 174-year history and will join 16 other women serving as principals or headmasters at 60 Jesuit high schools across the country.

Smith began her career as a teacher at Regis Jesuit High School in Colorado and currently serves as academic vice principal at the all-boys Boston College High School. She has more than 20 years of relevant experience — previously teaching English, coaching diving, and serving as department chair, academic dean, and vice principal for curriculum and professional development.

She was also the regional director of the Contemplative Leaders in Action program, a faith-based leadership development program run by the Office of Ignatian Spirituality (formerly known as The Jesuit Collaborative) of the USA East Province of the Jesuits, and served on the boards of Elizabeth Seton Academy in Boston and Ursuline Academy in Dedham, Massachusetts.

“I have found much joy and purpose in working in Jesuit schools for the past 20 years. I am also of the mind that there has not been a more exciting or relevant time to be in the work of Catholic education,” Smith said, noting how honored she is to be making the move to Manhattan on July 1.

She added, “The world needs young people of intellect, care, and concern who are eager to serve, to solve, and to lead us through the 21st century. I feel privileged to be part of that formative process.”

Kim Smith. Photo: Courtesy of Xavier High School

In her new role, Smith will be overseeing Xavier’s robust academic program and proactive student life, including retreats, service projects, athletics, and extracurricular activities. She will be succeeding Michael LiVigni, who has served as Xavier’s longest-serving headmaster for the past 15 years.

President Jack Raslowsky expressed his gratitude to LiVigni for his many years of service and dedication, which also included teaching history and acting as assistant headmaster before becoming headmaster. Raslowsky now looks forward to partnering with Smith to lead the high school toward its 175th anniversary and beyond.

“Kim brings a depth of experience for mission and ministry from her previous work, and yet also brings new eyes and new perspectives to Xavier,” he said. “I think this is an opportunity for us to ask, ‘What’s the next step in our growth as an institution and how does Kim lead that while working with the faculty and deans?’”

“This is exciting and a time of great possibilities for us,” he added. “And we certainly look forward to getting our community back together in the building, re-establishing norms and old traditions, and building new traditions, post-pandemic.”