While in college, Tom Bednar developed an interest in joining the ranks of teachers.
“My positive experiences as a student and youth group volunteer during college led me to pursue the path of education,” Bednar said.
His long career in education, his strong sense of mission, and his background in finance made him a perfect fit, as Bednar was recently approved to become the new president of Guerin College Preparatory High School, located in River Grove, Illinois. The school is a sponsored institution of the Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana.
Bednar is a Catholic school leader with a bachelor’s degree in Economics and a master’s degree in Divinity from the University of Notre Dame. His career in education began at Notre Dame High School, Niles, Illinois, where he also was involved in campus ministry, admissions and coaching.
For several years, Bednar taught and directed campus ministry at Nuestra Seńora de Andacollo School, Santiago, Chile, before becoming the school’s president. During his time at the school, he led a reconstruction project, while also writing and implementing an environmental education and recreation program for elementary students. He served at the school for 13 years.
Bednar has also ministered at Holy Trinity High School, Chicago, and St. Francis High School, Wheaton, Illinois, where he has served for the past eight years.
The Kansas City, Missouri, native and his wife live in Villa Park. They have two sons who are alumni from the University of Illinois. An avid sports fan, he said his football and baseball loyalty still remains in Kansas City, as he is a fan of both the Chiefs and Royals, but he added he has become a fan of the Chicago Blackhawks of the National Hockey League.
Bednar said his main focus while at Guerin Prep will be to grow enrollment and to get the school on “firm financial footing.”
“I’m looking forward to the opportunity to serve the Guerin Prep community,” he said. “The people I have met have been welcoming and longing for leadership to advance the mission and share their commitments to Catholic education with more people.
“Certainly, the Sisters of Providence commitment to works of love, mercy and justice inspires me and resonates with my own life.”
Bednar will officially join the school’s leadership team on July 1.
Guerin College Preparatory High School was established in 1962 when the Chicago Archbishop Albert Gregory Meyer invited the Sisters of Providence to establish a high school for girls in River Grove on the same campus as Holy Cross High School for Boys. The school was named after Saint Mother Theodore Guerin, foundress of the Sisters of Providence.
Classes in the building officially began on Sept. 9, 1963 and the school was blessed and dedicated by Cardinal Meyer in 1964. When Holy Cross High School closed in 2004, the school became co-educational at the request of Cardinal George and was renamed Guerin College Preparatory High School.
Several sisters have ministered as president at the school, including Sisters Margaret Kern (RIP), Cathy Campbell and Nancy Nolan.