Ramblers, Meet Your Director of Culture


Sophia Dempsey

Mr. Penna, Loyola’s Director of School Culture, in his office.

Sophia Dempsey, Co-Editor in Chief

Our school is full of remarkable faculty members who impact our everyday lives as Ramblers, even those beyond our teachers, deans, and counselors.

One such staff member is Mr. Chris Penna, Loyola Academy’s Director of Culture. Though you may see him moderating the caf during lunch or waving goodbye to students at the end of the school day, his impact on the student body is far more influential than just that.

Mr. Penna describes his job as Director of Culture as “[a navigation of] our efforts of diversity, equity, and inclusion.” He says one of his main goals right now is “to build relationships with students” and aid them in recognizing his position as a resource for them. 

Before becoming Loyola’s first Director of Culture last year, Mr. Penna worked in the Academic Resource Center with students who were struggling academically. “Hearing their horror stories about things that happened to them in the classroom or their struggles with learning is the same as this role,” he says. “Students come in and tell me about moments of different micro-aggressions that they encounter in the hallways.

“It breaks my heart.” 

On Loyola’s decision to establish the position of Director of Culture, Mr. Penna comments on our school’s increase of want and need for intentional movement to create an inclusive community.  “We say it’s something that’s a part of our mission and our vision, and it just makes sense that there’s some intentionality behind the programming.” 

Mr. Penna acknowledges that many faculty and staff members were working hard on creating a more inclusive and equitable atmosphere before the position of Director of Culture was established, such as Mrs. Bennett, Mrs. McGuire, Dr. Martin, Mr. Hooker, and Mr. Clark. “There’s a lot of really good people who have been doing equity and inclusion stuff long before I ever started [this position].”

When describing his favorite part of working as Director of Culture, Mr. Penna does not hesitate to say “working with students, to help them come to better know themselves, to find a voice, to fulfill that potential that each one of y’all have.

“That, to me, is the coolest thing.”

Mr. Penna would like students to know that he is a resource for them when they need one. He can be found in the Admissions hallway right next door to the Principal’s Office.