With a view toward their history and a desire to strengthen Catholic education, Benedictine College Preparatory and Saint Gertrude High School unified under a single new corporation, The Benedictine Schools of Richmond, in January 2020. The Benedictine Schools of Richmond will operate Saint Gertrude High School essentially as an all-girls school division and Benedictine College Preparatory essentially as an all-boys school division. The two schools will share the Benedictine Abbey campus, including some important facilities such as the campus church, auditorium, athletic fields, and a new state-of-the-art gymnasium. For 90 years, the two schools operated just 400 feet apart in the Museum District of Richmond. In 2013, Benedictine College Preparatory relocated to the 50-acre Benedictine Abbey campus. In the summer of 2020, Saint Gertrude High School will relocate to the Benedictine Abbey campus, where the schools will, once again, be in close proximity.
Benedictine Schools of Richmond Announces First President
An excerpt from the official announcement: On behalf of both schools’ boards, it is our great pleasure to announce the appointment of Jesse A. Grapes as the new president of The Benedictine Schools of Richmond, Inc. The criteria established by our search committee for the new president aligned well with Mr. Grapes’s experience, skills, and leadership style. As an inspiring leader and accomplished community builder, we are confident that all of his experience has led to this moment and points to even greater accomplishments in the futures of Saint Gertrude and Benedictine. Mr. Grapes is well-prepared and eager to build on the solid base he has already established within our community, and we look forward to a great future for both Saint Gertrude and Benedictine under his leadership.
Please join us in welcoming Mr. Grapes and his leadership on this journey toward a future full of hope for our beloved schools. We hope you will watch Mr. Grapes’s first official address to our unified community as president below.
Benedictine Schools of Richmond Announces New Principal
Mr. Drew Mugford ’86 has been named principal of the Benedictine Schools of Richmond, effective Monday, March 1.
Mr. Mugford is a product of Catholic education, having attended Saint Mary Catholic school from third through eighth grade, and he is a 1986 graduate of Benedictine High School. After graduation from high school, he studied at the University of Virginia and graduated in 1990. In the fall of that same year, he entered the automotive business and finished his career as president of Royal Chevrolet, which he and his brother Del (BHS ’81) sold in December of 2019. In 2012, Drew and Del were honored with Saint Gertrude’s “Distinguished Philanthropist Award” for their commitment to single-sex education and their lifelong generosity to their daughters’ school.
Mr. Mugford served as chairman of the Benedictine Educational Foundation (now the Benedictine Schools Educational Foundation) from 2011-2015, helping lead the campaign to construct the new campus home of Benedictine and Saint Gertrude. In addition, he served on the Board of Trustees from 2015-2020 and was president of the Board from 2017-2020. He helped formulate the school’s strategic plan and was instrumental in the unification of Benedictine College Preparatory and Saint Gertrude High School on one campus.
Mr. Mugford and his wife Sharon are strong supporters of Catholic education and have four children that attended Saint Mary Catholic School from Pre-K through eighth grade. Their three daughters graduated from Saint Gertrude High School, Taylor ’13, Mary Peyton ’16, and Harper ’19. Their son, Aidan, will be entering the freshmen class of Benedictine in the fall of 2021.
We are confident Mr. Mugford’s extensive professional experience, devotion to Catholic education, and deep connection to both Saint Gertrude and Benedictine will help ease this transition for both our schools.
Benedictine Schools of Richmond Announces New Heads of Schools
An excerpt from the official announcement: On behalf of the Benedictine Schools of Richmond, we are honored to announce the appointment of our two heads of schools, one of whom will lead Saint Gertrude High School and the other Benedictine College Preparatory. We are pleased to let you know that Amy Pickral (SGHS; pictured left) and Michael Bussman (BCP; picture below right) will serve in these roles for our new school community and will participate in our new joint leadership structure.
Amy Pickral, a 1995 alumna, served as Saint Gertrude’s assistant head of school this past academic year, and her professional history with the school includes over 10 years of distinguished service as a teacher, eventually chairing the math department. As a dynamic, results-driven administrator with a focus on building personal relationships, Mrs. Pickral is beloved by students, faculty, and staff, and will bring her love and passion for single-sex education and Saint Gertrude into our joint leadership team. You can read Amy’s full bio here.
Michael Bussman has helped lead Benedictine College Preparatory as the associate headmaster for the last seven years, often spearheading joint events, initiatives, and processes between the Benedictine and Saint Gertrude communities. With over 12 years of experience in education, Mr. Bussman will bring innovation, expert communication, and spiritual focus to our efforts going forward. You can read Michael’s full bio here.