Tom Devolve '82

From the fall 2001 Roger Bacon High School Reunion magazine: 

Tom Devolve has always enjoyed playing around with numbers. As a defensive backfielder for Coach Jim Williamson's Spartan kickers during the 1980 and 1981 seasons, Tom would occasionally find himself outnumbered by opposing strikers. The numbers he faces now may be different, but Tom's analytical skills as well as his persistence and determination should serve him well as he takes up the duties of Roger Bacon's principal. Always a team player Tom looks forward to working with faculty and staff parents, alumni and friends of Roger Bacon for the success of Bacon's students.

Coach Williamson used to preach that a good soccer team needed players with good mental as well as physical skills. In the fluid environment of a soccer match, not only do players have to assess the present circumstances but they also have to foresee how the situation will evolve in the next few moments and position themselves to take advantage of the new conditions. Tom's backfield position afforded him a chance to see the whole field envisioning opportunities and challenges unfolding before him. In short, Tom has the imagination needed to both envision and create a future. According to Sr. Margaret Maher, Science Department chair and member of the Principal Search Committee, Tom presented himself to the committee as an educator with vision, a man with "both a sense of where he wanted the school to be heading and the confidence and competence to get there."

Born on October 1, 1963 Tom spent his grade school years at Our Lady of the Rosary in Greenhills. After graduating, he studied at St Francis Seminary until it closed in 1980. Then he transferred to Roger Bacon and graduated in 1982. In the fall of 1982, Tom enrolled at Ohio State University to study veterinary medicine. Becoming convinced that he would enjoy working directly with young people rather than with their pets and 4-H projects, Tom switched to education, graduating from Ohio State in 1986 with a B.S., certified to teach biology, chemistry and physics.

After graduation, Tom began his career as a biology teacher and soccer coach at Newark High School in central Ohio. During his stay there Tom marred Lory (Brinkmann) Devolve, a co-worker during his summers at Kings Island. In 1994, having received his M.S. in Educational Administration from Ohio State. Tom moved to Sheridan Middle School in ThornviIle Ohio, as an assistant principal before becoming principal of Sheridan High School in 1996. Lory and Tom returned to Cincinnati in 1999 when Tom became an assistant principal at Milford High School. Along with their three children, Lauren, Ryan and Kristen, the Devolves reside in the Milford area.

Tom views his return to Roger Bacon after an absence of almost 7 years as an opportunity to give something back. "It seems as though Franciscans have always been a part of my life. In large part, they made me the person I am today, and Franciscanism has always been an important element in my life. I want to help Roger Bacon become an even better place for students to learn and for teachers to teach."

What issues does Tom Devolve see as crucial for the future of Roger Bacon? Not surprisingly, he turns to numbers. Budget and enrollment are key. "Roger Bacon needs to sell itself in a changing marketplace. To accomplish that, Roger Bacon needs to give people reasons to send their children to our school." According to Tom, benchmarks of a good school--National Merit Semifinalists and Advancement Placement scholars as well as maintaining a 100% pass rate on state proficiency tests affect people's perceptions of a school and need to be enhanced.

Excitement, self-confidence, eagerness--these are the qualities that most impressed the chairperson of the Principal Search Committee, Fr Jim Bok. "In our search we learned that as an administrator, Tom has been an effective communicator and that he is a person who wants to enhance the lives of other people," Fr. Jim recalled. Indeed, when asked why he would leave the classroom for the principal's office at a time when principals are leaving their jobs in unprecedented numbers, he responded simply, "I wanted to have an impact on more kids and I wanted to be involved in strategic planning that would affect the life of a school now and in the future." Imagination, vision, impact--seeds planted on the soccer field and nurtured in the classroom are now flourishing in the fife of Tom Devolve, Roger Bacon's ninth principal.

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