WILMINGTON — Thomas A. Kardish, the president of Villa Joseph Marie High School in Holland, Pa., will become the fifth president of Salesianum School, effective July 1, the school announced March 22. Kardish will succeed Brendan Kennealey, who is stepping down after 10 years in the job.
Kardish has been at Villa Joseph Marie, an all-girls school founded in 1932 by the Sisters of St. Casimir, for the past six years. Before entering secondary education, he spent 30 years in business, with experience in global sales and marketing with pharmaceutical companies, and he ran his own building products company for more than 17 years.
A graduate of Harvard University, he earned his MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. He is currently pursuing a doctorate in leadership and innovation from New York University. He was hired by Salesianum following a six-month search.
“From the moment I stepped onto campus, I instantly felt at home,” Kardish said. “The sense of unanimity of mission and purpose was palpable, and the total buy-in, from students all the way up to the board, was very appealing for me.”
Nicholas M. Marini, the chairman of Salesianum’s board of trustees, said the school was seeking a “visionary leader” who could build upon the momentum established by Kennealey.
“I believe we got everything we wanted – and more – in Tom,” he said.
Kardish will become the school’s second lay president after Kennealey. The outgoing president earned a reputation “as a dynamic and optimistic leader in executing transformational change” at Salesianum, according to the school.
“Brendan was an outstanding leader whose accomplishments were simply remarkable. Brendan leaves Salesianum in an extraordinary position on which Tom, as our new president, will be building,” Marsini said.
Salesianum School is one of eight Catholic high schools located within the Diocese of Wilmington.