Even before he formally began his tenure as Regis’s Principal over the summer, Mr. Charles Heintz had heard about the unique connection between the school and those who pass through its halls. After it was announced that he’d be leaving his previous school, Loyola Academy in Illinois, a parent there sent him a note about her father, who’d attended Regis decades earlier. The parent said her family wanted to splurge for her father’s 90th birthday, and they told him they could travel together anywhere he wanted, figuring he’d choose an exotic beach locale or some other relaxed environment. Instead, her father said he wanted to visit Regis because it had been so meaningful to him.
“The tradition, the legacy, and the history of Regis are peerless,” said Mr. Heintz. “That’s one of the things that attracted me.”
Mr. Heintz grew up in Little Neck, Queens, and attended Chaminade High School on Long Island before studying at the College of the Holy Cross. There, he connected with the school’s mission and felt a calling to go into Jesuit education. After working as a volunteer teacher as part of a program that helped under-resourced Catholic grade schools on the South and West Sides of Chicago, he came back to New York to teach at Xavier High School, then returned to Illinois to work at Loyola Academy in Wilmette. He spent 25 years at Loyola Academy as a teacher and administrator, including the last five as the school’s Principal.
Mr. Heintz said that after a quarter-century at the school, it was time for a “renewal,” but he knew that he wanted to remain in Jesuit education — and would only leave for the right position.
“When I saw this opportunity, I sparked up,” he said.
Mr. Heintz succeeds Dr. Ralph Nofi, who served as Interim Principal last year before retiring over the summer following 32 years as a member of the Regis community.
As Mr. Heintz begins his first year on 84th Street, he brings not just a vision for how a school can adapt to modern times, but an enthusiasm that he hopes will invigorate the student body.
“I have a lot of energy,” he said. “I’ve learned a lot, and I have a lot to give. This provided an opportunity where I felt like I could come to an institution that was looking for growth and looking for innovation, but also stay true to the mission-driven, linchpin ideals of Jesuit education.”
Heintz said he wants to make sure Regis maintains an atmosphere in which students are “seen, known, and loved.” He said that among his first tasks will be learning students’ names and that he plans to take time each morning to greet students as they enter the building.
“That’s so important for a kid to have that stability and that sense that someone is looking out for them,” he said. “How do we animate the mission to make people feel known and cared for? I think that’s an important responsibility.”
Regis President Rev. Christopher Devron first met Mr. Heintz in Chicago when Mr. Heintz was serving as a volunteer teacher on the city’s South Side. Upon the announcement that Mr. Heintz would serve as Principal beginning with the 2023–24 academic year, Fr. Devron praised him for how he prioritizes the needs of students and inspires faculty members.
“Through his optimistic approach to challenges, Charlie exemplifies Ignatius Loyola’s invitation to find God in all things,” said Fr. Devron in the announcement. “In his vocation as a husband and father of two daughters, he is a role model to young people. I’m excited for the larger Regis community to get to know him and benefit from his vision, compassion, and leadership.”
As Mr. Heintz considers the shape of Regis’s curriculum, he said he’s focused on maintaining the academic excellence that has defined the school since its founding while also ensuring that the course of studies well serves today’s students.
“There’s a lot that has happened in education, and some of it I think has been accelerated through the pandemic,” said Mr. Heintz. “Regis is about classically trained students who can take in information and communicate well. And those expectations will always be there. It’s just a matter of how we’re taking on 21st-century skills, communication, collaboration, and creativity.”