Fr. Steve Sallot says goodbye to the school community

After serving as interim president for the 2020-2021 school year, Father Steve Sallot leaves Mater Dei.

Last winter, after President Patrick Murphy left the school to work as the President of Business Operations, Strategy & Development for the Arizona Coyotes, Father Steve Sallot ‘72, stepped in to be the school’s interim president in January 2020. Father Steve had served as the school rector from 1992-2002. Now, as the 2020-2021 school year comes to a near end, Father Steve says his goodbyes to the Mater Dei community that has embraced him for the last four decades.

While serving as the interim president for the entirety of the 2020-2021 school year in addition to the end of the 2019-2020 academic year, Sallot has also worked to leave a well-kept and organized school for the newly hired president, Father Walter Jenkins.

“What I hope to do is leave a great platform for [Jenkins] to continue to move Mater Dei forward,” Sallot said. “I hope I don’t leave a mess behind, and I hope I leave things in good order for him.”

As he has grown closer to the faculty, staff, students, and families of the school during his time here, Sallot has testified to the positive impact of the fellow Monarchs, and will miss being a part of this tradition of creating change.

“When good people are doing good things together, great things happen,” Sallot said. “I’m going to miss that because this is the place where those things happen.”

While being the president of the school, Sallot has emphasized his gratitude for the ongoing support of his fellow staff members who encourage him to make beneficial changes for the school.

“We’re not an independent school, so we have to work together,” said Sallot. “I think that’s probably a strength that I have—that ability to make it all work together.”

Having worked alongside Sallot, principal Frances Clare values his wisdom and love for the Mater Dei community. She admires his unwavering charisma, humor, and general ability to successfully run a school.

“I think Father Steve has had a tremendously positive impact on the school in the past year and a half,” said Clare. “He likes to talk and meet with students, parents, faculty and staff—everybody. He has impacted the school in the way that he leads: with great wisdom and with a great sense of humor.” Clare said.

Sallot resume includes a lot of experience with working in school and parish administration, making him a prime candidate for presidency at Mater Dei. He studied to become a priest at St. John’s Seminary, and would later receive a master’s degree in school administration.

“He has a lot of experience in high school education and administration,” Clare said. “His educational background would be a very good reason as to why Bishop Kevin Vann assigned him to Mater Dei as the president of the school.”

Director of estate and alumni giving Allison Bergeron befriended Sallot during her time as a student of the class of 1996, and still values his comradery today. Bergeron respects Sallot’s work, and affirms his decision to return to parish life and administration.

“He deserves to end his career doing what he loves, which is parish life, and I have a lot of respect for that,” Bergeron said. “I learned a lot through his admission of ‘I’m not the right person for the long term, but I’m here to get the right person on board.’ That humility is such a great source of strength.”

Even though he will be leaving the school as interim president, Bergeron finds comfort in the fact that he will be close to campus. As he leaves the school, Sallot looks forward to continuing to focus his work at Our Lady Queen of Angels as a pastor.

“Although we won’t get to see him every day, he’s just up the road at [Our Lady] Queen of Angels. This is just a ‘see you later,’” Bergeron said. “Life is all about beginnings and endings, ‘hellos’ and ‘goodbyes.’ Deep down inside, I know that Father Steve will always be a part of this community.”