Renke serves as first female president, perpetuates Ignatian mission

Photo by Bryce Owen ’17 – Ms. Adria Renke greets students and families at the distinguished students awards ceremony, April 13.

By Matthew Zacher ’18

Ms. Adria Renke has taken over as interim president of the school, making her the first female president in Brophy’s 88 year history.

Ms. Renke, formerly the vice president, took over this summer when the Rev. Eddie Reese, S.J., became president of St. Ignatius College Prep in San Francisco.

Principal Mr. Bob Ryan said that Ms. Renke is great for the job, regardless of the fact she is a female.

“She has great knowledge of the school,” he said. “Fr. Reese has been the president, but the two of them worked very closely for 20 years, so her thumbprint is already on this campus.”

Mr. Ryan also spoke to the significance of Ms. Renke being the school’s first female president.

“I think it’s fantastic,” he said. “Since their founding 450 years ago, Jesuit schools have been run by Jesuit priests. As far as I know, of the established Jesuit schools across the country, she is the first female president of any school.”

Mr. Ryan added that Brophy’s forward-thinking and openness to change makes it fitting that Brophy is the first school to have a female president.

Ms. Renke said that she comes to the position as a president with her vocation as a mother, a writer and an educator with her own toolbox.

“If I was intimidated by my gender in an all male school, I wouldn’t have lasted 20 years,” she said. “I am a pretty gender blind person. I am all about can you do the job.”

Ms. Renke said she feels incredibly fortunate to serve as president.

“For me, there is no better job than perpetuating the Jesuit legacy, the Jesuit mission,” she said. “It’s who I am. So yeah, I bring a different set of tools as a female, as a mother, to any place, but I think there is great value in my toolbox.”

Ian Burke ’18 said that the fact that Ms. Renke is a woman should not be made into a big deal.

“I am glad that she has a larger role,” he said. “But I don’t think it will make that big of a difference in our everyday school life.”

However, Burke acknowledged the importance of having a female president.

“I think it is a cool step for Brophy,” he said. “But other than that, I don’t think that we should make too big of a deal out of it because it takes away from the significance of her accomplishments.”

Mrs. Susan Maynard has taught at the school for 15 years and said that Mrs. Renke is a strong capable person and that she has proven herself during her tenure as vice president.

“She is a visionary,” she said. “She is willing to speak her mind, but she is also willing to listen.”

Mrs. Maynard added that she doesn’t believe that Ms. Renke being a woman is relevant to the position.

“I think that she has earned the trust that has been placed in her over the years from just her competence as a person, but on the other hand I guarantee you she has faced challenges as a woman that she wouldn’t have as a man.”