Frank Miley, J.D. uses the analogy of an anchor and a compass when he talks about assuming the position of president of Cretin-Derham Hall in St. Paul.
“Our history, tradition and faith are our anchor and compass,” he said. “They ground us and they point us in the direction we would like to go.”
Miley, who completed the Educational Administrative Licensure Program from Saint Mary’s in 2001, has served as the director of development at Cretin-Derham for the past five and a half years.
As the school’s current president Richard Engler retires, Miley will assume the title officially on July 1, 2015. He will serve as executive vice president for the coming school year.
“I’m excited and honored to be a member of this community and to be considered competent enough to lead it. I really love the students and the community at Cretin-Derham; it is steeped in St. Paul history and tradition, going back to 1851. Its rich tradition and its educational legacy are kind of awesome to participate in. I feel very spiritually moved and inspired by it. Being able to work for the betterment of students in this community is something that makes getting up for work every morning a real joy.”
Miley’s heart has always been in education; he began his career teaching religion from 1985 to 1995 at St. Thomas Academy, Mendota Heights. While he was teaching, he attended law school and was hired in 1995 by the Ramsey County Attorney’s Office to develop an innovative truancy intervention program.
In 2003, he was selected as the second president at Holy Family Catholic High School in Victoria, Minn., which became part of the Lasallian network during his tenure. “That was one of my proudest accomplishments,” he said.
He then returned to his alma mater, William Mitchell College of Law, to serve as vice president for strategic planning and administration before coming home to Cretin-Derham.
Miley is just one of a long list of recently appointed educational administrators who are alums of Saint Mary’s.
Miley recalls his time at Saint Mary’s fondly. “I was in a special cohort put together for Catholic school leaders, and I still see members of my cohort regularly. It was a fabulous education and really prepared me for the practical day-to-day aspects of running a school,” he said. “If anybody would ask me what I think of my experience at Saint Mary’s, I would say, ‘It was awesome’ and if someone is thinking about pursuing an administrative licensure, I’d say, ‘Absolutely think about Saint Mary’s.’ The courses were a good blend of practical wisdom, coupled with sound education and theological pedagogy.”
As two of Miley’s sons, Joseph ’15 and Kevin ’16 are currently attending Saint Mary’s, a family legacy has begun.
As he plans for the next step in his career, Miley said, “I want to make sure we maintain and enhance our commitment to providing an excellent education for students of all academic abilities. A lot of schools provide excellent education for the top third, and we do that also. But I want to make sure kids who struggle also get an appropriate, excellent, rigorous education that prepares them for whatever follows high school, whether it be college, service or the work world. And we need to do that in an affordable manner.
“There are elements of our curriculum that need to be enhanced and strengthened. That’s a perpetual challenge in education, to make sure you’re always keeping up. And I want to be sure we are really being faithful to the charism of the Christian Brothers and sisters of St. Joseph and the legacy they have given us, as our anchor and our compass for the future.”