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HISTORY


Since its humble beginnings in 1976, Northridge has worked hard to fulfill the vision of its founders to provide an environment that would both challenge students academically and provide the necessary experiences and role models to become men of faith, character, and virtue.

Northridge first opened its doors in 1976 with 33 boys and 8 faculty members, renting space from the Park View School in Mount Prospect. Dr. James Stenson served as the first headmaster from 1976 until 1987, bringing with him outstanding credentials in the areas of academics and character formation. His tenure would set the tone for the headmasters who have followed. During its first five years the school moved twice – first to the Wilson School in Glenview in 1978 and then to the Apollo School in 1981.

stensonDr. Stenson was succeeded by George Herman, English teacher and the father of two Northridge alumni. Though serving as headmaster for only a short time, Mr. Herman continued to devote himself to Northridge for many years, teaching freshman religion and advising students.

In 1988, Dr. Jerry Shepherd assumed the role of headmaster at Northridge while it was still located at the Apollo School in Des Plaines. It was during the years at Apollo that Northridge hired its first admissions director who could devote his full attention to the recruitment of students. As a result of those efforts, beginning in 1991, Northridge added a sixth grade class and also had, for the first time, two sections of 7th grade.

In the summer of 1991, students, parents, and alumni helped to move Northridge Prep to the site of the former St. Isaac Jogues School. The smaller size of this facility and the insecurity of renting property brought a renewed determination that Northridge must acquire its own building. Following an exhaustive search spanning many years, in August of 1997 the purchase of the Ballard School was finalized and Northridge had a home it could call its own. Again, faculty, staff, parents, students, and alumni helped to move Northridge to its current building in time for the opening of school in September of the same year.

FacadeThe move into its present home also saw other changes at Northridge, the most apparent being the appointment of a new headmaster, Mr. Robert Pasquesi. Bob had served for years as treasurer of the school’s Board of Directors and was the father of three alumni. His early career had been as a high school physics teacher. While he was headmaster, he taught sophomore physics as well as AP Physics to seniors.

As soon as the move into the new school was complete, plans were put into motion to provide the school with a permanent chapel and a gym to support the needs of a growing student body. These plans for Northridge, as well as for our sister school, The Willows Academy, were facilitated by the incorporation of the two schools as The Alliance for Character in Education in 1997. The Alliance oversaw the business details, development, and facilities management for both schools during this exciting era of expansion.

crest1Mr. Luke Ferris, who had served from 1989 until 2000 as admissions director, succeeded Mr. Pasquesi as Northridge Prep’s fifth headmaster beginning in July of 2000. During the 2001-2002 school year, he oversaw a school filled with the sound of heavy equipment constructing the new gym and atrium which today provide the focal point for those arriving at Northridge.

The inaugural event held in the gym was the graduation of the Class of 2002.

The construction of the Northridge chapel commenced the following year and was completed in 2004. This beautiful chapel is the spiritual heart of Northridge. It provides a sacred space appreciated by faculty, students, and parents alike for Mass, chapel talks, evenings of recollection, confession, and quiet reflection.

chapelWhile the school was expanding its physical plant, the population of the student body was also growing. All high school grades now had two sections; students continued to excel athletically and academically as evidenced by the number of National Merit Finalists, Illinois State Scholars, and acceptances to the finest colleges and universities in the nation. Accolades came from both theChicago Sun Times and U. S. News and World Report as they recognized Northridge’s unique contributions to the education of young men.

In the fall of 2006, Mr. Ferris announced his decision to step down as headmaster at the end of the school year. The board launched an exhaustive search for his successor. In April, 2007 the school’s sixth headmaster, Mr. Richard Meyer, was appointed. His second year at Northridge saw the inauguration of a new system of student government, the Hall System. Each student became a member of one of four halls, supervised by a faculty advisor and a senior student as hall leader. This new structure continues to provide greater opportunities for all the young men of Northridge to develop leadership and service skills that will equip them for life.

Recognition of Northridge’s unique contribution to education continued in 2008 when the school was named one of the Top 50 Catholic High Schools in the United States by the Acton Institute.

Feeling that the mission for which Northridge was founded would be better served as a truly independent school, Northridge separated from the Alliance for Character in Education in 2010. In conjunction with this move, the school incorporated again as its own entity, governed by a newly established Board of Directors.

In 2012, Headmaster Rich Meyer left Northridge, and the Board of Directors began a search for a new headmaster. They selected Mr. John Kestler in 2013. An excellent teacher with over 30 years of experience, Mr. Kestler had been at Northridge since 1991. After 4 years as headmaster, Mr. Kestler decided to continue in his passion for teaching, and now remains one of the most experienced teachers on Northridge’s staff as Headmaster Emeritus.

With his experience in business and education, Mr. Niall Fagan was a good fit to become the new headmaster in 2015. Before coming to Northridge, Mr. Fagan worked at Harley-Davidson in Milwaukee for over 6 years, and was Head of Advisory at the Midtown Educational Center. Mr. Fagan worked as Admissions Director in the 2015-16 school year, and became Headmaster in Fall 2016. Together with Mr. Kestler, Mr. Fagan helped inaugurate both the Endowment Fund, and also the Capital Campaign that is currently improving the Northridge campus.

While always looking ahead, it is important to give credit to the vision that inspired the founders of Northridge. We give thanks for their dedication and determination to found a school that has formed men of intellectual ability and fine moral character – men who have become doctors, lawyers, electricians, teachers, priests, carpenters, businessmen, loving fathers and husbands, and leaders in their respective communities. We pray for God’s grace to continue this mission far into the future.

HISTORY


Since its humble beginnings in 1976, Northridge has worked hard to fulfill the vision of its founders to provide an environment that would both challenge students academically and provide the necessary experiences and role models to become men of faith, character, and virtue.

Northridge first opened its doors in 1976 with 33 boys and 8 faculty members, renting space from the Park View School in Mount Prospect. Dr. James Stenson served as the first headmaster from 1976 until 1987, bringing with him outstanding credentials in the areas of academics and character formation. His tenure would set the tone for the headmasters who have followed. During its first five years the school moved twice – first to the Wilson School in Glenview in 1978 and then to the Apollo School in 1981.

stensonDr. Stenson was succeeded by George Herman, English teacher and the father of two Northridge alumni. Though serving as headmaster for only a short time, Mr. Herman continued to devote himself to Northridge for many years, teaching freshman religion and advising students.

In 1988, Dr. Jerry Shepherd assumed the role of headmaster at Northridge while it was still located at the Apollo School in Des Plaines. It was during the years at Apollo that Northridge hired its first admissions director who could devote his full attention to the recruitment of students. As a result of those efforts, beginning in 1991, Northridge added a sixth grade class and also had, for the first time, two sections of 7th grade.

In the summer of 1991, students, parents, and alumni helped to move Northridge Prep to the site of the former St. Isaac Jogues School. The smaller size of this facility and the insecurity of renting property brought a renewed determination that Northridge must acquire its own building. Following an exhaustive search spanning many years, in August of 1997 the purchase of the Ballard School was finalized and Northridge had a home it could call its own. Again, faculty, staff, parents, students, and alumni helped to move Northridge to its current building in time for the opening of school in September of the same year.

Facade

The move into its present home also saw other changes at Northridge, the most apparent being the appointment of a new headmaster, Mr. Robert Pasquesi. Bob had served for years as treasurer of the school’s Board of Directors and was the father of three alumni. His early career had been as a high school physics teacher. While he was headmaster, he taught sophomore physics as well as AP Physics to seniors.

As soon as the move into the new school was complete, plans were put into motion to provide the school with a permanent chapel and a gym to support the needs of a growing student body. These plans for Northridge, as well as for our sister school, The Willows Academy, were facilitated by the incorporation of the two schools as The Alliance for Character in Education in 1997. The Alliance oversaw the business details, development, and facilities management for both schools during this exciting era of expansion.

crest1

Mr. Luke Ferris, who had served from 1989 until 2000 as admissions director, succeeded Mr. Pasquesi as Northridge Prep’s fifth headmaster beginning in July of 2000. During the 2001-2002 school year, he oversaw a school filled with the sound of heavy equipment constructing the new gym and atrium which today provide the focal point for those arriving at Northridge.

The inaugural event held in the gym was the graduation of the Class of 2002.

The construction of the Northridge chapel commenced the following year and was completed in 2004. This beautiful chapel is the spiritual heart of Northridge. It provides a sacred space appreciated by faculty, students, and parents alike for Mass, chapel talks, evenings of recollection, confession, and quiet reflection.

chapel

While the school was expanding its physical plant, the population of the student body was also growing. All high school grades now had two sections; students continued to excel athletically and academically as evidenced by the number of National Merit Finalists, Illinois State Scholars, and acceptances to the finest colleges and universities in the nation. Accolades came from both theChicago Sun Times and U. S. News and World Report as they recognized Northridge’s unique contributions to the education of young men.

In the fall of 2006, Mr. Ferris announced his decision to step down as headmaster at the end of the school year. The board launched an exhaustive search for his successor. In April, 2007 the school’s sixth headmaster, Mr. Richard Meyer, was appointed. His second year at Northridge saw the inauguration of a new system of student government, the Hall System. Each student became a member of one of four halls, supervised by a faculty advisor and a senior student as hall leader. This new structure continues to provide greater opportunities for all the young men of Northridge to develop leadership and service skills that will equip them for life.

Recognition of Northridge’s unique contribution to education continued in 2008 when the school was named one of the Top 50 Catholic High Schools in the United States by the Acton Institute.

Feeling that the mission for which Northridge was founded would be better served as a truly independent school, Northridge separated from the Alliance for Character in Education in 2010. In conjunction with this move, the school incorporated again as its own entity, governed by a newly established Board of Directors.

In 2012, Headmaster Rich Meyer left Northridge, and the Board of Directors began a search for a new headmaster. They selected Mr. John Kestler in 2013. An excellent teacher with over 30 years of experience, Mr. Kestler had been at Northridge since 1991. After 4 years as headmaster, Mr. Kestler decided to continue in his passion for teaching, and now remains one of the most experienced teachers on Northridge’s staff as Headmaster Emeritus.

With his experience in business and education, Mr. Niall Fagan was a good fit to become the new headmaster in 2015. Before coming to Northridge, Mr. Fagan worked at Harley-Davidson in Milwaukee for over 6 years, and was Head of Advisory at the Midtown Educational Center. Mr. Fagan worked as Admissions Director in the 2015-16 school year, and became Headmaster in Fall 2016. Together with Mr. Kestler, Mr. Fagan helped inaugurate both the Endowment Fund, and also the Capital Campaign that is currently improving the Northridge campus.

While always looking ahead, it is important to give credit to the vision that inspired the founders of Northridge. We give thanks for their dedication and determination to found a school that has formed men of intellectual ability and fine moral character – men who have become doctors, lawyers, electricians, teachers, priests, carpenters, businessmen, loving fathers and husbands, and leaders in their respective communities. We pray for God’s grace to continue this mission far into the future.

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8320 Ballard Rd, Niles, IL 60714
Tel: 847.375.0600 Fax: 847.375.0606
info@northridgeprep.org

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8320 Ballard Rd, Niles, IL 60714
Tel: 847.375.0600 Fax: 847.375.0606
info@northridgeprep.org


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