Grace Cotter Regan takes charge as BC High president

Old pals: Boston’s Cardinal O’Malley and Grace Cotter Regan.

Grace Cotter Regan will be the next president of Boston College High School, the school’s board of trustees announced on Aug. 24. The new head of the 154-year-old Jesuit institution has most recently served as head of school at St. Mary’s in Lynn and was previously the executive director of advancement for the New England Province of Jesuits and the Boston College Alumni Association.

She succeeds longtime President William Kemeza, who retired after a 30- year-career at the school earlier this year.

In a statement issued to the BC High community announcing the news, Fr. Brian Conley SJ, chairman of BC High’s board of trustees, said that Regan was “unanimously supported” by the board, adding, “She brings a wealth of educational experience grounded in the Jesuit and Catholic tradition.”

Cotter Regan has deep connections to the campus on Morrissey Boulevard. Her son Bartley was a student-athlete at the high school and is a graduate of the class of 2012. Her late father— Jim Cotter, a native of Dorchester’s Savin Hill section— was the longtime head football coach and athletic director at BC High.

In an interview with WBUR last week, Cotter acknowledged that she was surprised to be offered the top post at the Dorchester school. “I never thought it would be a possibility to be the president of BC High. I never thought honestly that they would consider a woman,” she told the radio station. She added: “I’m the product of single sex education, and my boys are as well — both of my sons, my husband. I really like single-sex education.”

Cotter Regan is an alumna of Boston College and as director of the alumni association she managed an elected board of directors and 22 staff members. She has also served as vice president of the Boston Public Library Association, where she was charged with raising funds for the restoration of the historic McKim Building, library courtyard, and the 27 branches of the Boston Public Library.

She earned a master’s of arts in pastoral ministry and spirituality from the Boston College School of Ministry and Theology in 2008. She also holds a master’s in education degree in student affairs and higher education administration from the University of Vermont (1987), and a bachelor of arts degree in theology and sociology from Boston College (1982).

After graduating from BC, she volunteered with the Jesuit International Volunteer Corps in Belize, Central America, an area where she has traveled extensively.

She and her husband Bernie live in West Roxbury.