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Former teacher, administrator at Canisius H.S. appointed president

A former teacher, admissions director and principal at Canisius High School has been named its 35th president, a school spokesman announced Thursday.

The appointment of the Rev. David S. Ciancimino was unanimously approved in meetings Monday and Wednesday of the school’s board of trustees and the Jesuit Board of Members, according to spokesman Tom Lucia. Ciancimino will begin his duties June 1.

“I am very happy to return to Canisius High School and work again with so many terrific teachers in a community where ... alumni maintain very close ties to the school,” Ciancimino said in a statement.

Ciancimino taught religion, Spanish and French at Canisius from 1989 to 1995; was director of admissions from 1989 to 1992; and principal from 1992 to 1997.

From 1997 to 2004, he was headmaster of his alma mater, Xavier High School in New York City. He was appointed assistant to the Jesuit provincial from 2004 to 2008, then served a six-year term as provincial superior, in which he was responsible for the care of more than 400 Jesuits as well as all the apostolic works of the province.

Ciancimino was instrumental in the merger of the former New York and New England Provinces into the Northeast Province of the Society of Jesus. As provincial superior, he addressed national and global issues such as poverty and injustice.

“Since I was last here, I have had responsibilities that took me across the country and, at times, around the world,” Ciancimino said. “This is a return home of sorts for me and I am looking forward to strengthening Canisius’ mission.”

Speculation about Ciancimino’s appointment surfaced in February, when the school’s current president announced he would resign at the end of the school year in May. That announcement, by the Rev. Joseph Costantino, came less than a week after school officials announced they would implement policy reforms in the wake of last year’s cheating allegations against a star football player.

The school’s former dean of students was dismissed, but a formal investigation determined the incident was not part of a larger, systemic problem.