Former developer leading Archbishop Carroll into the future
|By Kathy Boccella, The Philadelphia Inquirer|
|McClatchy-Tribune Information Services|
"I have two train [lines] at my front door," said Fox, honing his pitch to boost student enrollment while funding a
The 920-student archdiocesan school is also a model for a new approach for Catholic education in
Fox, known as Frank, a 1977 graduate of the school, became
In 2012, the archdiocese took the unprecedented step of turning over management of its 17 high schools -- beset by rising debt and school closures -- to a newly created, independent Faith in the
Fox, 54, in many ways is the embodiment of the new philosophy. "I'm basically the CEO in charge of enrollment, development, fund-raising, facilities, and I'd like to get involved in academics," he said. "My goal is to be one of the finest Catholic high schools in the country."
He has won over teachers, too, according to
Fox was chairman of
Although he had just been hired in March by developer
"It struck me that it's what I was called to do," he said.
His priority is a fund-raising drive named Carroll50 -- pegged to the school's 50th anniversary in the 2017-18 school year -- which seeks to raise
The school is phasing in five academies -- where students get intense instruction in specific disciplines -- and partnered with nearby
Next year's tuition and fees at
Fox says he's shooting for a 40 percent bump in next year's freshman class thanks to intense marketing and what he calls "the personal touch."
That includes a daily trip to the cafeteria to meet that day's "shadows," eighth graders who visit
"Having fun? Thanks for coming. We'd love to have you here," Fox said, shaking hands with one boy visiting on
Filling seats is a priority. Enrollment peaked in 1978 at 1,700. Now at less than half-capacity, the school feels empty and looks like a fixer-upper compared with
He calls the students, who come from as far north as the
Like other Catholic educators across
As passionate as he is about
"My classmates," he answers finally. "When I tell you about the secret sauce here and how special the student body is, it's been that way for 45 years," he said. "It's a very special community."
BY THE NUMBERS
of students at Archbishop Carroll are African American.
are from other countries.
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