Gonzaga Preparatory School is pleased to announce the selection of Derek Duchesne as its 20th principal in the school’s history. He will begin in this role on July 1.
Shortly after current Principal Cindy Reopelle announced in January her transition to a new ministry, the Principal Search Committee launched a nationwide search, listened carefully to the needs of our community through surveys and focus groups, performed active outreach to the educational community, and evaluated the strength of our applicant pool.
Duchesne emerged as the top candidate through that process where he stood out for his clear commitment to the magis, a foundational value of Jesuit education. “Seeking the more, the better, the greater, for God, helps us discern a constant transformation to better serve the needs of the Gonzaga Prep community,” Duchesne said.
President Michael Dougherty shared the news with the broader community on April 18, offering both high praise and confidence in his leadership. “Having served as Prep’s vice principal of academics since 2009, Derek has earned the esteem of our community for his passionate commitment to excellence in advancing the mission of Jesuit education. We look forward with great anticipation to the gifts and talents that Derek will bring to his new role, and the impact that his leadership will have on the future of Gonzaga Prep.”
Duchesne brings extensive experience in leadership and innovation to his new role. In his 24 years at Gonzaga Prep, he has served as academic vice principal and before that as dean of students, teacher, and coach. In his time as an administrator, he has led the school in adopting a new bell schedule, guided the adoption of the first 1:1 computing model in eastern Washington, and shepherded multiple learning models to support student learning and engagement through COVID. His pursuit of excellence in curriculum facilitated the co-creation of Gonzaga University’s College in the High School program, making Gonzaga Prep its first partner.
He has taught math and chemistry and currently teaches computer science – now a College in the High School course. In 2013, he earned the Jesuit Secondary Education Association Educator of the Year for Gonzaga Prep. In his growth as a Jesuit educator, he has completed the Jesuit Schools Network’s Ignatian Leadership Seminars and the Spiritual Exercises in Everyday Life. He has led and hosted the JSN’s national meeting of academic vice principals.
“It is a significant understatement to express that I am excited to be the next Principal of Gonzaga Prep. Within my first year of working here, I understood how special of a place this is, so much so that my wife and I wanted our kids to attend and I wanted to build a career here. I am honored that I was able to work alongside many impactful Gonzaga Prep educators that guided and mentored me to be prepared for this role.”
Duchesne replaces Cindy Reopelle, principal of the school since 2012, who announced her transition to a leadership role in a Jesuit ministry at St. Aloysius Parish in Spokane.