Earlier today, Head of School Joy McGrath ’92 announced to the community that the Reverend Michael Giansiracusa has been appointed as St. Andrew’s head chaplain, effective July 1, 2024. She thanked the dozens of community members who participated in the search, including members of the student vestry, the student interfaith council, and a faculty search committee of Ana Ramírez, Terence Gilheany, and Dave DeSalvo.
As head chaplain, Michael will lead spiritual life at the school, direct the school’s chapel program, and be responsible for defining, preserving, and promoting the school’s Episcopal identity to all constituencies. In overseeing the school’s chapel program, Michael will preside at services three times each week, and manage the student-led chapel guilds and vestry, as well as the chapel team.
Michael joins St. Andrew’s with extensive experience in spiritual leadership and campus ministry. He currently serves as chaplain at Doane Academy, an Episcopal K-12 school where he also teaches World Religions, and as vicar at St. Gabriel’s, a mission church in Philadelphia. Prior to Doane and St. Gabriel’s, Michael spent 13 years leading urban and suburban parishes, including Episcopal Community Services (Philadelphia, Pa.), where he engaged in a variety of nonprofit work; the Romero Center (Camden, N.J.), where he led college and high school mission retreats; and St. Mary’s (Ardmore, Pa.) where he served as rector.
Earlier in his career, Michael taught religion, English, and film at various secondary schools including St. Mark’s (Wilmington, Del.), Malvern Prep (Malvern, Pa.), and Bishop Eustace Prep (Pennsauken Township, N.J.). It was during this time he spent teaching that he discerned a call to the Episcopal priesthood, attended Episcopal Divinity School, and earned a doctorate in Ministry. Michael is an ordained priest in the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania.
Born and raised in Philadelphia, Michael attended LaSalle University, where he studied communication arts with minors in philosophy and English; and Villanova University, where he earned an M.A. in religious studies. Michael is a rabid Philadelphia sports fan, enjoys film and cooking, and is an animal rights advocate. He is father to a son, Michael, who attends Villanova University as a VUScholar.
“Of course, I knew of the excellent reputation that St. Andrew’s has for academics, the chapel program, and the varieties of sports and activities available,” Michael said. “What was eye-opening to me was the honest effort not to rest on reputation, but to actively look to create opportunities to be better. Although this is a community that is firmly rooted in faith, St. Andrew’s does not forget that, in the end, beyond any accolades and traditions, a community is about relationships and the care and concern community members have for one another. There is no substitute for the support, safety, and love of a community. This is what convinced me that St. Andrew’s is where I wanted to be.”
Joy wrote in her announcement to the school that, “Michael stood out in an impressive field of candidates as a person with both a lively Christian faith and a calling to serve adolescents in a religiously diverse Episcopal school setting. Students and faculty alike identified him as the next person to lead St. Andrew’s chapel program and spiritual life.”
Michael was identified as St. Andrew’s next head chaplain from a field of outstanding candidates in an exhaustive and inclusive national search. He succeeds The Rev. Jay Hutchinson as chaplain. Jay Hutchinson retired from St. Andrew’s in June 2023 and joined St. Mark’s School in Massachusetts. Previously retired St. Andrew’s Head Chaplain Rev. David DeSalvo P’00,’04 has returned to lead the school’s chapel program in the interim.