By AK Alilonu ’16 & Chase Manson ’16
Mr. Paul Fisko assumed his new role as assistant principal for ministry in the Office of Faith and Justice on Aug. 1.
He replaces Mr. Chris Calderón S.J., who held the position last year and recently left for Boston College to study theology as part of his Jesuit formation.
This is Mr. Fisko’s 10th year working in the Religious Studies Department.
“My primary teaching load was to seniors last year,” Mr. Fisko said. “I was pleased, especially since the graduating class of 2014 was such a stellar class.”
Four years ago, Mr. Fisko became the department chair. He then attended a series of seminars offered by the Jesuit Secondary Education Association.
He said that the purpose of the seminars were to ask him, “What if you saw yourself in five years as being an assistant principal, maybe? Can we arm you with the toolbox to make you successful?”
Mr. Fisko went on to apply to become the assistant principal, and the Brophy administration chose him after an interviewing process.
He described his initial reaction to his appointment as “fear in the sense that I’ve seen it done so well, that to have to live up (to that) … it’s like the juniors who have seen the seniors win a state championship.”
In spite of this, he also said that he was overjoyed at getting the job.
As assistant principal, Mr. Fisko is in charge of all of the programs under the Office of Faith and Justice. He describes his responsibility as “to make sure that there’s a real sense of buy-in to this part of our mission as a Jesuit Ignatian school.”
This includes overseeing retreat and service programs. He is also in charge of immersion programs and planning liturgies.
Mr. Fisko said he had to make a lot of sacrifices to take on this responsibility.
He gave up coaching junior varsity soccer after seven years. Mr. Fisko also stopped teaching four of his former five classes.
In addition, he no longer directs campus music ministry, and has left the task to Mr. Paul Olson.
Andy Vainauskas ’15, a former student of Mr. Fisko, got to know him from playing violin in the Brophy Chapel.
While disappointed that Mr. Fisko can no longer spend as much time teaching or making music, Vainauskas said he believes the new assistant principal is well-suited for his job.
“I know he’s involved in a lot, but he’s able to balance it pretty well,” he said.
While Mr.Fisko is open to learning how to handle his position, he also has some ideas of his own.
Mr. Fisko said he hopes to find a way to give students more opportunities to live out their faith above and beyond what Brophy requires.
“It’s great to go on charity drives and go on immersions, but I think that what the OFJ needs to do more of is that, because we’re an educational institution, is to further our helping kids be advocates for change,” he said.
Mr. Fisko said he hopes for the success of the OFJ Lock-In, renamed the OFJ Walkabout this year, as a means of increasing the influence of the Office of Faith and Justice on campus.
“This OFJ is the heart of the school, geographically, but it also is the heart of the school; what we are about,” he said.