Announcement of Dr. Rick Wood's Appointment as New President

St. Mary's Ryken High School
President/CEO Search Update


Dear Members of the St. Mary’s Ryken High School Community,

On behalf of the St. Mary's Ryken Board of Directors, I am delighted to announce that Dr. Rick Wood has been selected as the new President and CEO of St. Mary’s Ryken High School, beginning July 1, 2019.  An extensive, national search was conducted and applicants from across the country were considered.  Dr. Wood’s tremendous qualifications, 23 year career at SMR, and his enormous devotion to our families, faculty/staff and the Xaverian tradition, make him the ideal next leader for our school.   

Dr. Wood earned his BS in Biology from the University of Maryland College Park and his MS in Human Resource Development from Towson University. In 2017, he earned his doctorate in School Leadership from the University of Maryland College Park.

Throughout Dr. Wood’s 23-year career as teacher, Dean of Student Life, Dean of Academics, and Principal at St. Mary’s Ryken, he has consistently provided faith-filled leadership and developed programs that promote spiritual growth and educational excellence.  He has nurtured positive relationships with teachers, parents, students, alumni and supporters. 

As life-long area residents, Rick and wife Paula are parents of two current students and a class of 2016 alum. Rick is a tireless advocate for SMR, and is known and respected throughout southern Maryland.  As an innovator of successful programs, and a key contributor to the Strategic Plan and Middle States re-accreditation, he understands the strengths and challenges of our school, and is well positioned to lead us to continued success.

Dr. Rick Wood states, “It is my honor and privilege to continue to serve and advance the mission of St. Mary’s Ryken as President.  I carry the mantle of good work that has been accomplished by Mary Joy Hurlburt and her predecessors who have built a foundation for excellence in collaboration with the Xaverian Brothers.  For over twenty years, being part of the sole Catholic, college preparatory high school in the tri-county area, I have witnessed the transformative experience that happens in the lives of our young adults.  I believe the difference in a great education and life-changing experience is the community in which it takes place.  I am inspired by the faculty, staff, coaches and administration that provide this life changing, holistic education for our student body.  They foster and value a strong spirituality, rigorous academics, and an amazing extracurricular experience for our SMR community.  I have always had great pride in SMR and I am driven to put my experience and leadership to work in the next phase of St. Mary’s Ryken’s rich history, where success has been a tradition.” 

We appreciate everyone who participated in the search for a new leader.  More than 100 faculty, staff, parents, students, and board members provided insight and feedback in stakeholder focus groups and interviews.  The members of the Search Committee devoted countless hours to vetting the candidates.  A special thank you to Dr. Keith Crowley who lead the search committee throughout this process. Our dedicated Board of Directors prayerfully discerned the Search Committee’s recommendation and made the final decision. We appreciate Catholic School Management’s guidance throughout the national search process.

We are extremely grateful for Mary Joy Hurlburt’s commitment to St. Mary’s Ryken as a teacher, principal and president for the past 33 years. Her leadership has inspired academic excellence, a strong sense of a Xaverian community, and garnered financial support that has propelled St. Mary’s Ryken into the forefront of Catholic education in the region. In addition, she has touched each of us with her spiritual presence and loving care.  She will continue to lead us well throughout this school year and work closely with Rick to ensure a smooth transition of leadership.  

I invite you to congratulate Dr. Wood as he assumes the role of President and CEO, and to support him in the coming years.  A dedication Mass will be planned for the beginning of the next school year. As we enter this new era in St. Mary Ryken’s history, we are grateful for God’s many blessings—for an inspiring mission, for an active, involved community dedicated to Xaverian values, for those who have faithfully served, and for the bright future ahead.


Mr. James M. Burke, SMR ‘86
Chair, Board of Directors