Announcement of Finalists – 1/8/18

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Announcement to St. Michael’s School Community – January 2018

The Search Committee is pleased to announce the selection of two outstanding educators as finalists to lead St. Michael’s School. Each candidate will spend time at the school to complete the interview and discernment process, and to meet with members of the school community.

Debbie D’Amore

Brendan Sullivan

Please note in particular that Debbie and Brendan will meet with the faculty and staff on Tuesday the 16th and 30th between 3:30 and 4:30 PM; and on Wednesday the 17th and 31st from 8:15 to 9:30 AM there will be a gathering of parents and adult members of the school community. During these meetings we will introduce the candidates and provide an opportunity for them to respond to questions and engage in conversations with those gathered.

With the support of our search coordinator, Peter Cheney, we have already reviewed Debbie’s and Brendan’s written materials, had extensive conversations with them and conducted a number of reference conversations about their lives and work. We are excited about their visits and hope that just as we will learn more about them during their time with us, so too they will discern more fully whether St. Michael’s is an ideal school for them to lead and serve.

Parents and faculty may share their impressions of the candidates with the search committee by emailing: The committee will review this input just as it has used the results of 119 survey responses to inform its deliberations and decisions.

Following Debbie’s and Brendan’s visits, the Search Committee will hold final discussions to review each candidate, and select one to nominate to the Board of Trustees to serve as the next head of school. With the Board’s concurrence, the Rector and Vestry of the church will be asked to ratify the Board’s decision.

Our committee was gratified by the level of interest in heading the school. From more than 25 applicants, a select group of nine candidates was chosen for preliminary interviewing and review. Five of these fine leaders were invited to talk at greater depth with the committee in December. We then selected Debbie and Brendan as finalists.

Debra S. D’Amore

Debbie D’Amore has lived in Tucson for 41 years, and is a long-time member of and leader in the St. Michael’s Church and School communities. She is married to David Bradley, the Chief Development Officer of La Frontera Arizona and a member of the AZ State Senate. Debbie is the parent of an adult daughter and three adult step-sons.

Since 2001, she has served as Chief Deputy School Superintendent in the Pima County School Superintendent’s Office. Her previous experience includes 13 years of service in the Vail, Arizona school district as teacher, middle school and high school principal and Assistant Superintendent.

Debbie is by all accounts a superb educator and accomplished leader. As the parent of a St. Michael’s graduate and twice a board member at the school, she has both a deep understanding of the school and its operation, and fully embraces the school’s mission and ethos. As she wrote about St. Michael’s in her statement on education and leadership:

St. Michael’s motto – “The difference is balance” sums it up well. Effective educational leaders teach the whole child. Learning environments are created that foster not only intellectual and physical growth but emotional and spiritual growth as well. Our Episcopal identity calls for the nurturing of our moral, religious and spiritual development while celebrating diversity. Serving others, caring for each other, our neighbors and community, and worshipping together on a regular basis rounds out our daily life on campus. Keeping in mind our deep sense of a shared mission and honored traditions, we can remain open minded, practice tolerance, resolve conflicts peacefully, appreciate differences and love one another to the fullest, as God has taught us to do.


Brendan J. Sullivan

Brendan J. Sullivan is a Massachusetts native, where he and his six brothers and sisters became first-generation college graduates. Educated and formed in the outstanding Jesuit tradition, Brendan’s career in education is notable for its emphasis on academic excellence and dedication to serving the under-served.

Brendan and his wife, Alison, are the parents of three children ranging from 12 to 6 in age. Alison has worked since 2001 with FICO, a leading analytics software corporation. The Sullivans are active members of St. Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral in San Diego.

Since 2002, Brendan has served first as Founding Principal and now as President of Nativity Prep Academy in San Diego. The only all-scholarship private school in San Diego County, Nativity Prep is one of a national network of schools founded by Jesuits in 1971 in New York City to educate and serve poor, middle school age children. (The Episcopal Church adopted this model and operates several similar schools in the United States, including Imago Dei Middle School here in Tucson.)

Brendan is a model of the ideal servant-leader, whose love and passion for children is matched by his excellence as an educator and school leader. After 16 fulfilling and highly demanding years at Nativity Prep, Brendan is excited about the mission and spirit of St. Michael’s, and very attracted to Tucson as well. He is clearly called to lead and serve in faith-based schools, and has long admired the way in which Episcopal schools educate and shape young human beings from all religious traditions and economic circumstances.

In his educational philosophy and practice statement, Brendan wrote:

I learned that taking a genuine interest in others – wanting to know their hopes and dreams, their strengths and challenges – goes a long way in building trust and respect. This desire to know and understand others ‘from the heart’ applies to everyone within the school community, but it has no greater importance in practice than with the students we serve. They are the reason for all that we do as educators. Personal care, empathy and understanding for each and every student, in and out of the classroom – for the good of their intellectual, social, physical, spiritual, and emotional development – remains every school’s foundation, focus, and primary responsibility. I believe that all students are capable of serving for the genuine good of others throughout their lifetime by having learned from the heart about themselves and others within a loving community.