By Sue Botos
Magnificat High School’s board of directors and the Sisters of the Humility of Mary have announced the appointment of Renata J. Rafferty as the school’s next president. Rafferty, whose tenure begins on July 1, succeeds Carol Anne Smith, H.M., who announced late last year that she was stepping down after six years at the school’s helm.
Rafferty, currently president of the international firm Rafferty Consulting Group Inc., is finishing a one-year sabbatical during which she worked with the Maryknoll China Teachers Program in Zhongshan, China.
Board chairman P. Kelly Tompkins said in a statement that, after a nationally recognized search firm screened nearly 1,000 resumes, eight candidates on a short list were interviewed by phone. Five were selected for in-person interviews, and the final three were brought to the school’s campus for intense two-day talks, which included interaction with parents, students, alumnae, faculty and board members.
“We had three very different and accomplished women leaders in the final round. All had impeccable track records of leadership, all were committed deeply to the Catholic faith and all had skills that were relevant to the position. That said, Renata stood out above the rest for many reasons,” Tompkins added.
A sought-after philanthropy speaker, Rafferty is a frequent on-air charity analyst for CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, PBS and NPR, and is a regular commentator for major daily newspapers. She is a former Gannett News Service columnist and has published two books on charitable giving.
Rafferty has a bachelor’s degree from Loyola University of Chicago and a master’s degree from Tufts University in Boston. In addition, she is a former Fulbright Scholar with the Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland. She is a member of the board of advisors of the National Philanthropic Trust, serves on the governance committee of the International Association of Advisors in Philanthropy, and is a member of Congregations Acting for Justice and Empowerment, as well as the Alpha Sigma Nu Jesuit Honor Society.
As president of Magnificat, Rafferty’s responsibilities will include implementing strategic plans, directing advancement and alumnae initiatives and overseeing marketing and admissions campaigns. Rafferty will be the school’s third president and first lay leader of the school.
Tompkins added that Rafferty is a strategic thinker and future-oriented. She also showed a “great rapport with the students.”
“Renata immediately ‘clicked’ with the senior leadership team. The good chemistry, which is all-important, was palpable with her and the team,” he added.
Tompkins continued, “She brings a fresh perspective, a unique view that we need. She will look beyond the near-West Side of Cleveland for ideas and opportunities, but likewise, she clearly has a deep respect for our traditions and what Magnificat means to Northeast Ohio. She will get the best of both views.”