A lifelong Ignatian educator, Mr. Michael Cheney is retiring from Jesuit after 19 years
With more than 40 years in Ignatian education — dating back to his time in college, Mr. Michael Cheney has experienced the impact of Jesuit schools as a student, teacher, department chair, and administrator.
After attending Mount Saint Francis Seminary High School in Indiana, Mr. Cheney’s journey in Jesuit education began at Saint Louis University. Mr. Cheney graduated from SLU in 1979 with a bachelor’s degree in Spanish and a minor in Philosophy. He would earn a master’s degree in Spanish in 1981.
Following his six years at SLU, Mr. Cheney earned a master’s degree in religious studies at Mt. St. Mary’s College, a non-Jesuit Catholic University in Los Angeles.
He would return to Jesuit education when he was hired at Loyola High School in Los Angeles. There, he taught Senior Ethics, Junior Faith of Catholics, and Sophomore Moral Theology. He also served as Theology department chair for 12 years and worked in adult spiritual formation.
During the final three years of his 18-year stint at Loyola, Mr. Cheney was also an Adjunct Instructor of Religious Studies and Philosophy at Mt. St. Mary’s College.
In the Summer of 2002, Mr. Cheney learned of an opening at Jesuit High School Sacramento and was hired. He originally started in the school’s administration, but eventually went back to teaching.
“I saw a job opening at Jesuit High for an Assistant Principal for Instruction and Student Affairs in 2002 and applied,” Mr. Cheney said. “I was hired. I enjoyed working in administration, but after five years of it, I returned to teaching.”
But after 19 years at Jesuit, Mr. Cheney has decided the 2020-2021 school year would be his last.
“I have enjoyed my 19 years of teaching at Jesuit,” Mr. Cheney said. “The faculty and staff here are amazingly generous, hardworking, caring, and dedicated to forming young men to be men for and with others. The hardest part of retiring is not being with this group of faculty and staff. I will miss them very much. I also am very grateful for my experience with Jesuit High students. I have had an amazing time with students and during this difficult time with the pandemic, I felt a strong connection to my students. I hope they know I cared about them and appreciated my interactions with them.”
At Jesuit, Mr. Cheney taught every Theology class except the sophomore Old Testament course. Hunter Cameron ’21 is among the many students who had Mr. Cheney as a teacher.
“My experience was amazing with Mr. Cheney,” Hunter said. “I was lucky to have him during my sophomore and junior year, and I really enjoyed attending his class. During my sophomore year, I struggled academically, and I always felt like he was one of the few teachers during that year that took time to help me, and made sure I was successful.”
Fellow teacher and Theology Department Chair Ms. Annie Crew-Renzo also appreciates Mr. Cheney.
“Mr. Cheney is one of the best teachers of Ignatian Spirituality I have ever known,” Ms. Crew-Renzo said. “He’s faithful, kind, gentle and wise. We will miss him in Theology but are also so excited for him to enjoy his retirement with his family and new grandchild.”
Even though his time at Jesuit is over, Mr. Cheney isn’t done impacting the lives of others.
“I will continue to work at St. Ignatius parish as the Director of the Center for Ignatian Spirituality,” Mr. Cheney said. “My job there is to train and supervise spiritual directors to give the Spiritual Exercises, conduct Ignatian formation of deacon candidates and spouses in the Diocese of Sacramento, and facilitate adult religious education at the parish. I intend to get involved with the Ignatian formation of the faculty and staff at Cristo Rey High School.”
He also plans to explore the world and live on different continents with his wife.
“My wife and I want to travel to Europe, Asia, and Latin America,” Mr. Cheney said. “Our hope is not just to visit these places for just one week, but to live in different cities for two months at a time.”
A man dedicated to helping others, Mr. Cheney embodies everything Jesuit teaches its students. While he will be missed by so many, Mr. Cheney will surely keep living out the Jesuit values as he enters the next chapter of his life.