St Paul’s pastor Fr. Michael Drea has announced the appointment of Dr. Michael Lescault (Ph.D.) as the new headmaster of St. Paul’s Choir School, filling the position left vacant by the retirement of William McIvor. This appointment comes after an extensive search that yielded many fine candidates, but Dr. Lescault was ultimately the unanimous choice of the search committee.
“Dr. Lescault possesses many fine qualifications as a dedicated scholar and a proven educator, particularly his experience in curriculum, faculty and staff development,” said Fr. Drea. “He also brings with him an enthusiasm as a true man of faith to advance our unique mission as the only Catholic choir school for boys in the United States. I am convinced that our school will continue its remarkable growth with him as headmaster.”
Dr. Lescault was raised in nearby West Roxbury where he graduated from Catholic Memorial School. He earned his bachelor’s degree, master’s and ultimately his doctorate in history at Providence College. Dr. Lescault has had a long and distinguished career in Catholic education, taking leave of Bishop Fenwick High School after 19 years to assume his new position. In addition, he serves as an adjunct faculty member at Providence College, where his daughter Meghan will be a senior in the fall.
Fr. Drea offered special thanks to his partners on the search committee, St. Sebastian’s School headmaster William Burke, and Choir School advisory board members Sharon Gallagher and Paul Haley.
As the Choir School welcomes Dr. Lescault, it bids a fond farewell to the outgoing Bill McIvor, who came to Harvard Square nine years ago as a part-time instructor after a long and distinguished career as a teacher and administrator in the Massachusetts public school system. He later became a full time teacher, and five years ago, assumed the role of headmaster at a critical juncture in the history of the Choir School.
headmaster“I will always be grateful to Bill for stepping into the breech at a time of major changes in curriculum, faculty, and administration at the Choir School,” said Fr. Drea. “We needed an experienced educator who understood the nature of our school and the importance of strong academics, and Bill was an excellent fit, providing capable leadership and guidance during this transition, and helping immensely in positioning the school for growth in the years to come.”
“Coming from public school to St. Paul’s, it was like dying and going to heaven,” said McIvor. “In public schools you can’t say ‘God bless you,’ ‘Merry Christmas,’ or teach morality or religion in the classroom – all the things you’d like to use as foundations for learning.”
Bill hit the ground running, beginning the process of revising the curriculum, and hiring and developing new staff members. Under Bill’s leadership as headmaster, the school entered a new era as we added a fourth grade, returned to our original name of St. Paul’s Choir School, and celebrated our 50th anniversary.
McIvor is musical himself, as a long-time barbershop singer, and his understanding of the culture of St. Paul’s certainly extended to an appreciation for the central role music education and performance plays in the life of a choir school student, but not at the expense of ever-higher academic standards.
“As (former headmaster and music director) John Dunn often said, students come for the school, not the choir alone. It really is an incredible atmosphere. It’s not for everybody, but for the right child, it’s an amazing experience.”
As the Choir School welcomes Michael Lescault, we send our best wishes and heartfelt thanks to Bill and his wife Johanne as they turn their attention to a well-deserved retirement!