News Detail

Congratulations to our Retirees

With over 100 years of collective Xaverian experience, the retirements of Mr. Jim Lewis, Mrs. Paula Duddy, and Mrs. Donna O’Connor will certainly be felt by all in our community.

Here’s a look back at their decades of service to Xaverian, as we wish them all the best on their next endeavours.

Jim Lewis, P ’95, ’02 
World Language Teacher, 2001 Ryken Award Winner

Whether he was known to a student as Herr Lewis, Señor Lewis, or Mr. Lewis, few have passed through Xaverian Brothers High School in almost 50 years and not known and loved Jim Lewis. Jim was hired as a mathematics and German teacher in the 1973-1974 school year by Brother William Drinan, C.F.X. World languages ultimately won out and he spent his career teaching thousands of young men to speak German and Spanish.

Over the last five decades, Jim has served as a teacher, department chair (12 years), coach (Alpine Ski), chaperone, bus driver, moderator, and most recently, as the unofficial chief preserver of the history of the Xaverian Brothers at the school. He has done yeoman’s work to capture the stories of these Brothers in order to hand them down as part of the school’s collective history, ensuring that the Brothers’ legacy lives on into the future. Jim sends his regards to Brother Daniel Skala, Brother Joe Pawlika, Brother Paul Feeney, Brother Richard Mazza, Brother Richard Cook, Brother Henry Marino, and Brother Kevin McClean, all of whom he served with while at Xaverian, as well as many other memorable and dedicated Brothers who have since passed on.

Having served as a mentor to countless teachers over the years, as he prepares for retirement (which will include travel, time with his grandchildren, and some antiquing), Jim shares his words of wisdom for new faculty and staff. He says, “The best advice I could impart would be to really incorporate the mission of the school into the fiber of everything you do here at Xaverian. It is what makes this school great and sets us apart from so many others.”

Q&A
How is Xaverian different now than when you began working here? 
The changes in the school are obvious as you walk throughout the building. What has not changed is the Mission and spirit in the school which is palpable to anyone who walks through our doors.

What are your plans for retirement? 
I plan to travel, spend time with my grandchildren, and buy and sell antiques and collectibles.

If you could ensure a particular legacy at Xaverian, what would it be?
I would like people to remember me as someone who loved his work, and who flavored his contributions here with humor and kindness. 

Favorite language (and do you speak it?)
I can speak English, German and Spanish with some degree of fluency. If I could ingest a chip, and become instantly fluent in another, I would choose Italian or French. I have studied both of those languages, but lack real fluency. 

Paula Duddy, P ’93, ’95
Fine Arts Teacher, 2005 Ryken Award Winner

For Paula Duddy, Xaverian Brothers High School is more than a career or a calling, it’s her family. Paula became familiar with the school through her husband, the famed Charlie Duddy, Jr., who was serving as a physics teacher and science department chair in the 1980s. “He loved Xaverian and always bragged about the school,” she says. Paula became part of the community as Charlie’s wife, attending events, meeting the Brothers, and bringing their children onto campus. So when an art teacher position became available in 1986, she applied and was hired by Brother Richard Cook. For more than three decades, Paula has been the driving force behind the fine arts curriculum at Xaverian. Under her leadership, what was an arts department of one has become a talented team of teachers, offering a robust menu of both curricular (32 academic classes, including two advanced placement classes) and extracurricular opportunities for Xaverian students.

In her decades at Xaverian, Paula worked with many of the Xaverian Brothers, including Brother Paul Feeney, Brother Joseph Gerard, Brother Jason Black, Brother Richard Cook, Brother Charles Moran, Brother Daniel Skala, Brother Raymond Hoyt, and Brother Joseph Pawlika. She says, “When I look back to my early years at Xaverian, I was always impressed with the community that the brothers had formed. All of the brothers were so welcoming and supportive. During my tenure I have been equally impressed with the dedication of the lay men and women who have shared their Xaverian ministry with the zeal and humility that has become part of the Xaverian tradition.”

Paula’s service at Xaverian extended far beyond the classroom. She formed the Art Club and the National Art Honor Society, served as artistic director for The Concordian (the school’s literary magazine) since its inception, was the producer for theatrical productions, assembled a liturgical music group, and served as department chair for an incredible span—32 years! Additionally, she traveled as a chaperone five times for campus ministry’s Xaverian Pilgrimage to Italy (XPI).

In her retirement, Paula plans to spend as much time as possible with her children and grandchildren in California. She also wants to continue bringing art into the lives of young people by starting an arts program for children struggling with autism. Of her legacy at Xaverian, Paula says, “I hope that I will be remembered as a worker among workers, each of whom was striving in his/her own way to provide a safe and bountiful educational experience for our students.”

Q&A
If you could give advice to new teachers or staff members, what would it be?
Take advantage of all of the outstanding training available at Xaverian to help you to grow in your ministry, whatever it may be. Remember that students want to be in a safe and caring learning environment where they feel cherished and authentically understood. Honor the parents of our students who do so much to make our school a very special place.

What will you miss the most about Xaverian?
What I will miss the most is the energy that radiates throughout the school. I believe that “XB Energy” is contagious and that it moves reciprocally in a circular motion from student to teacher. I will sorely miss that profound energy. Secondly, I will miss the professionalism of all of my colleagues who continually each and every day raise the bar of excellence of our Xaverian community to new heights.

Favorite Museum and Favorite Artist:
The Met and Andy Goldsworthy.

Donna O’Connor, P ’01
Special Projects Manager

Donna O’Connor began her role at Xaverian as a volunteer in 1997 while her son was a student. She took volunteering to a new level, coming in on a weekly basis to assist in the advancement office, coordinating the raffle drive, and lending a hand on special events. Since 2002, she has officially served as an integral member of the advancement team in a variety of capacities, most recently as the Special Projects Manager. However, no title can adequately capture Donna’s role at Xaverian. For nearly 20 years, she has served as the keeper of the details for the school community, from cataloging news for 10,000+ alumni (such as birth announcements, marriages, and new jobs), to ensuring that special events are decorated to the nines, to mapping out the meetings and events calendar for the year...even catering! Donna single-handedly shopped, cooked, and served for countless special occasions at Xaverian, including meetings of the Board of Trustees, as well as community events like the teacher appreciation breakfast. And she took her love for all things culinary into the student community as founder and moderator of the Cooking Club.

When asked what she will miss most about Xaverian, Donna enthusiastically replies, “The people! The visits from students to solve the wuzzle (a word puzzle) and collect candy, faculty stopping by to chat and grab a sweet treat, Dave Palmieri exuberantly waving at me through the window in my office, our volunteers who are a joy to have around, and of course, the friendship of my colleagues. I consider myself very lucky.” 

Her parting advice to those at Xaverian Brothers High School is to embrace the opportunities to get to know people. She says, “There are so many wonderful people at Xaverian; it would be unfortunate to not experience their friendship, humor, talent, and passions. Enjoy the opportunity you have been given to be part of this amazing community.”

Q&A
If you could ensure a particular legacy at Xaverian, what would it be?
I think I would like to leave memories of moments and events that brought people comfort and made them feel ‘warm and fuzzy.’ It would be nice to know if I could have had a hand in something that brought beauty, a laugh, or a smile to someone’s life.

What are your plans for retirement?
I want to be available for the caregiving and support of family members who need extra time and attention. When time allows, I look forward to tackling lots of projects that have taken a backseat for so long, as well as getting back to taking vacations again. Of course, the silver lining will be in spending as much time as possible with my grandchildren! 

Favorite thing to cook for colleagues?
There are so many items that I have enjoyed making over the years, but I think the one that stands out would have to be my cornbread stuffing, which I include in one of my sandwiches. The reason it stands out to me is because of the pure joy it brought to Steve Dacey ’95 (Assistant Principal for Teaching and Learning) when he described to me how he loved to eat it “like an ice cream sandwich when it squishes out of the side.” His reaction is the reason people cook from their heart! 
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Xaverian is a Catholic, college-preparatory school for boys in grades 7-12. As an inclusive community, we embrace diverse experiences and perspectives, welcoming students and families from all faiths and backgrounds. Through exceptional academics, athletics, the arts, faith formation, and service opportunities, we help young men discover their unique gifts and talents so they can share them with a world in need.