Omaha Creighton Prep named its new president Monday — a man with years of experience at Prep.
The Rev. Thomas W. Neitzke will be the high school’s 33rd president since 1878.
Neitzke is president of the Jesuit Academy, a Catholic school for boys from fourth through eighth grades. He has also been principal there. For years, he worked at Prep — as a theology teacher, assistant dean of students and assistant principal for student affairs.
“I look forward to working with the entire Creighton Prep community and the greater Omaha community to further our mission, strengthen relationships and explore new opportunities in learning, while honoring our rich Jesuit history and strong Catholic tradition,” Neitzke said in a press release.
Originally from Wisconsin, Neitzke has served on Creighton Prep’s board of directors for three years and last year was elected chairman.
He had been leading the search for the new president until the committee decided it wanted to consider him for the position. At the committee’s request, he left the search committee so that it could consider him for the job.
“While we had many excellent candidates,” newly elected board Chairman Patrick Duffy said in a press release, “it became clear to the search committee that (Neitzke) possessed all of the essential characteristics necessary to serve as our president.”
Neitzke recently helped lead an effort to create the Jesuit Academy Camp in partnership with the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Midlands. Among other degrees, Neitzke received his doctorate of educational leadership from Creighton University. He had been planning to leave his job as president of the Jesuit Academy and work in Milwaukee or Chicago to recruit men to the Jesuit order.
Creighton Prep’s previous president, Michael Giambelluca, resigned in May after serving less than a year. Giambelluca hails from New Orleans, where he was Jesuit High School principal, and he has returned to that city.
Neitzke is a Jesuit priest, like all of the presidents since its foundation except Giambelluca.
John Naatz, who has been the principal since 1992, has been serving as interim president. In April, Naatz will step down as acting president, and Neitzke will take the position.
“We are thankful to have a spiritual leader like Fr. Neitzke at the helm of this great institution,” Naatz said in a press release. “Fr. Neitzke has a strong relationship with faculty, staff and administrators at Prep, and the transition of leadership will be smooth and fast.”