A lot has changed since the first time John Nolan visited the Saint Joseph High School campus. 

Back in the late ’90s, he was bringing his young son to see All-American Jay Williams ’99 and the basketball team play in the Old Gym. Fast-forward a decade, and not only had the Old Gym been transformed and the Vincent Maglio Gymnasium constructed, but Nolan’s son (also named John) graduated from the school in 2009. Now another decade or so later, and he’s set to further evolve his relationship with the Saint Joe’s community.  

Nolan was announced as the new President of Saint Joseph on Sept. 22.

Sign Up for Plainfield Newsletter
Our newsletter delivers the local news that you can trust.

“I can’t say I saw this coming back then,” he said. “But I’m extremely grateful to the Brothers of the Sacred Heart and the Board of Directors for this opportunity. I look forward to working with Principal Anne Rivera and all of our Partners in Mission to help advance the Saint Joe’s tradition of excellence.”

Nolan follows Brother Ronald Talbot, S.C., who had been serving as Interim President since July. 

“We have the utmost appreciation for Brother Ronald’s leadership during one of the most difficult times in our school’s history due to the pandemic,” said John Langdon ’80, Board of Directors Chairman. “Now we are excited to introduce John as the school’s new president. His love for Saint Joe’s combined with deep ties to the community, local parishes, and the Diocese of Metuchen give him a unique understanding and familiarity of area grammar schools that feed our student population.”

After growing up in New York, Nolan has lived in Edison for 30 years. Meanwhile, he has more than 35 years of professional business and fundraising experience, raising over $350 million for a variety of non-profit organizations, including JFK Medical Center, the ALS Association, the Archdiocese of New York, and most recently, Catholic Extension. 

Along the way, Nolan has volunteered his time as a trustee at St. Helena Church in Edison. That’s in addition to other volunteerism, such as serving as a board member for the Diocese of Metuchen’s Flame of Charity Foundation and the Diocesan Catholic Schools Commission.  

His commitment to his faith and Catholic education go back to his upbringing. 

“My parents gave me a strong foundation for my Catholic faith and stressed the value of education,” said Nolan, whose late mother, Joan, was a teacher. Her career included 20-plus years at a Catholic elementary school on Long Island. 

Nolan is a graduate of Niagara University, a Catholic college in Western New York. He and his wife, Kathy, sent their son and two daughters to St. Helena’s for kindergarten through eighth grade. Their daughters, Katie and Kirsten, graduated from Union Catholic and then Loyola (Maryland) and Fordham, respectively.  

“I’ve seen the benefits of Catholic education first-hand, including the maturation of my own son at Saint Joe’s,” Nolan said. “I’m committed to seeing that as many young men as possible can have the privilege of a college preparatory education guided by the charism of the Brothers of the Sacred Heart. In the process, I can’t wait to engage with our amazing alumni and the entire Falcon Family.” 

News of this presidential appointment has created buzz among the Saint Joe’s community. 

“I think John was a wonderful selection for this position,” said Brother Richard Leven, S.C. “I’ve known him since coaching his son in freshman track in 2006 and he has remained a familiar face at Saint Joe’s events since. He’s a high character person of great faith with the Saint Joe’s spirit in his heart. The school is in safe hands going forward.”

Besides Talbot, Nolan is preceeded by Justin Fleetwood, Greg Brandao, Larry Walsh ‘68, Br. Dennis Wermert, and Br. Joe Holthaus as leader of Saint Joe’s.

The president position was introduced in 1997. Saint Joe’s is dually run by a president, who oversees fundraising and finances, and the principal who oversees school activities.

Nolan is inheriting an Advancement & Alumni Relations team which is made up of Jack Timko, Assistant to the President; John Eppensteiner, Director of Advancement and Alumni Relations;  Rachael Masturzo, Alumni Relations Officer; and Alyssa Davis, Director of Communications.