Kearney CEO moving to School of the Holy Childhood - Catholic Courier

Kearney CEO moving to School of the Holy Childhood


Donna Dedee, president and chief executive officer of Bishop Kearney High School in Irondequoit, has been named chief executive officer of the School of the Holy Childhood in Henrietta, an agency serving children and adults with developmental disabilities.

Dedee, a former local television personality who became the third president of the Irondequoit high school in 2005, will assume her new role March 1, according to Christopher Mooney, chairman of the board of directors for the School of the Holy Childhood.

Mooney said Dedee was tapped from a field of 45 applicants; five candidates were brought in for interview.

“It’s long been an organization that I’ve admired in the community,” Dedee said. “Their mission focus is wonderful as is the work that they do with folks with developmental disabilities.”

The search committee included several board members and Sister of St. Joseph Seraphine Herbst, who retired as the school’s executive director in 2009. Since then, the school has been led by interim chief executive officer and chief financial officer Diane Syta.

“(Dedee) really stood out with just a wealth of experience, including five years running Bishop Kearney and prior to that five years running (marketing and communications for) the United Way,” said Mooney, who noted that Dedee’s history in local television news also helped her stand out from other candidates.

Mooney said he believes Dedee will help the school identify how it can grow to help aspects of the community it is not currently serving, while maintaining the school’s unique traditions. School of the Holy Childhood school offers vocational training and employment for adults in its Special Touch Bakery, Partners with Industry program and Woodworking Shop, a health clinic and sports and recreational programs.

“(Dedee) recognized that the school is a very special place and … that we were in a transition, and she recognized that we are in a very financially sound position and wanted to grow, and she wanted to facilitate that growth,” Mooney said.

During Dedee’s tenure at Bishop Kearney High School, the school underwent a rebranding and partnership with billionaire B. Thomas Golisano that generated $4 million in donations for technology and curriculum upgrades. Additionally, the school added seventh and eighth grades in 2008 and has announced it is adding a sixth grade in 2012. The school has also signed a new lease with an elementary charter school that will open as a tenant in the building in 2011.

“There are an awful lot of wonderful things happening for Bishop Kearney at this point in its history,” Dedee said.

Dedee said that the board of trustees at Bishop Kearney already has appointed an interim chief executive officer, but that she cannot yet name that person. She added that she is committed to working with Kearney to help make the transition successful.

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