After graduation from high school in 1957, Dr. Frank J. Cody began his studies in Wernersville, PA, to become a priest in the Society of Jesus (Jesuit). During the course of these studies, he attained a bachelor’s degree in Latin and master’s degrees in philosophy and divinity from Loyola University Chicago. He also taught for 4 years at St. Ignatius High School in Cleveland, the University of Detroit High School, Walsh Jesuit High School in Stow, Ohio, and John Carroll University and served as assistant to the principal and president at both Ignatius and Walsh. He was ordained in Detroit, MI, in June 1973. After ordination, he pursued a doctoral degree in educational administration at the Ohio State University to prepare himself for subsequent work in school administration and university teaching. He received his PhD in 1980 during his fourth year as headmaster/principal of St. Ignatius High School.
Dr. Cody then spent two years as the upper school principal and director of the Chapel School in Sao Paulo, Brazil, a bilingual Catholic school (English and Portuguese) for expatriates and Brazilians. Returning to the United States in the fall of 1983, he was appointed Assistant Dean of the School of Education and Human Services at the University of Detroit, where he also taught not only educational administration but also a variety of other education courses. Continuing to teach in the School, the following year he became the University Chaplain and Director of Campus Ministry with a seat on the University President’s Executive Council. In 1987, he was awarded the associate professorship and taught education courses full time until being named Director of the Center for Economic Education, a position he occupied until leaving the university in the fall of 1991 to assume a principalship at Grand Rapids West Catholic High School. In his final two years at the University, he co-authored the “Manual of Education Risk Management,” and began and wrote/edited the “Ed Risk” newsletter for the company he founded and co-managed with John Dise, JD. He left the priesthood in 1989 and married Shirley Black in Detroit in 1992.
During his four years as principal, Dr. Cody was named by his administrator peers from the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) to serve on the organization’s Non-Public School Committee beginning in 1992. He was then chosen by NASSP as the only non-public school principal to be a member of the Carnegie Association for the Advancement of Teaching/NASSP Commission on the Restructuring of the American High School, which, after two years of deliberation, published the influential document, “Breaking Ranks: Transforming an American Institution,” in 1995. The report became a guide for many high schools throughout the country for significant change and has gone through many editions since with its main principles still exercising great influence. In 1995, Cody left the Grand Rapids Catholic Schools and took a position as headmaster at the Woodside Priory School, which he held for the following two years before returning to Michigan as a teacher/administrator at Kalamazoo Central High School.
While teaching and engaged in special projects there, such as his directorship of the Small Learning Community grant from the Bill Gates Foundation, instituting such a community at KCHS, Dr. Cody also frequently traveled back to Brazil, where he engaged with a former colleague to co-author a series of three books on comparative educational history and teaching methodologies in Portuguese aimed at current and future Brazilian teachers. He was also engaged in teaching and administrative positions at the Guarulhos University between 1997 and 2007, as well as lecturing in various academic venues in Sao Paulo State and as advisor to teachers and administrators of Brazilian schools.
Retiring from KCHS in 2005, Dr. Cody joined the staffs of both the University of Phoenix and Spring Arbor University, teaching a variety of courses for both institutions, both in traditional and online formats, undergraduate and graduate, as well as being an academic coordinator. In the city of Kalamazoo, he was active in the leadership of various civic organizations and served on the City of Kalamazoo Planning Commission from 2003 to 2008. He was also quite active with his church, including being a member of the Kalamazoo Catholic Schools Board from 2002 to 2007.
In his spare time, Dr. Cody returned to an early activity in his life, competitive swimming, and was a national Senior Olympics and U.S. Masters champion, placing 2nd in the World Masters biennial meet in Sweden in 2010. He was named Outstanding Swimmer of the Year by the Michigan Masters in 2011. Dr. Cody continues to reside in Kalamazoo, MI.
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