Head of School Blog
Susan Tyree Dempf, Ph.D.

Belonging to the Wider Sacred Heart Family

Greetings Academy families and friends,

Across the past three days I have been representing the Academy at the Network of Sacred Heart Schools Spring Membership Meeting. In attendance at the Spring Meeting are the Heads of School and Board Chairs who comprise the ‘membership.’ If you envision the atmosphere of a lively and loving family reunion you will gain a sense of the tenor of the meeting. It is a joy to participate!

There are two annual gatherings of the Membership — the first is held annually in St. Charles and provides an opportunity for new Trustees from across the 25 schools to come to know the roots of the Sacred Heart Schools in the United States and Canada. As the first Sacred Heart school in the Americas and the home of the Shrine of Saint Rose Philippine Duchesne, the Academy is in some ways the ancestral home of all members of the Sacred Heart family. The second meeting, held in the spring, is hosted by the different schools across the Network. Yesterday we were invited to visit, pray and celebrate our shared mission at Newton Country Day School of the Sacred Heart outside of Boston (pictured below).

The Academy’s active participation in the Network yields many benefits for our school, our students, faculty, staff and Board. Students are offered opportunities for Summer Service Projects, Leadership opportunities appropriate to Middle School students, the Middle School Roots that Give Us Wings conference (returning to St. Charles, post COVID, in the fall of 2022) and exchange opportunities. Teachers and staff members attend a conference here in St. Charles offered each summer that helps new employees to grow in their understanding of and commitment to the mission of Sacred Heart education as articulated through the Goals and Criteria. If there has been any positive side effect of COVID-19, perhaps it is the use of technology and the offering of various Network affinity groups and more than 200 Zoom “meet ups” that regularly support dialogue within a larger community of educators.

The meetings held this week offered face-to-face conversations on topics including how contemporary Sacred Heart leaders are extending the mission of Saint Madeleine Sophie Barat into the world, the educational mission of the Society and how that extends beyond the 25 Network schools as well as the ‘business aspect’ of the Network. The importance of the Head of School Board Chair relationship, a tuition assistance model (very similar to our own Affordable Customized Tuition program) and Catholic social teaching and the new Criteria are also topics. Lunchtime conversations were focused on enrollment, advancement and capital campaigns and Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Justice best practices. 

The next gathering of Network constituents will be held at the Academy with the offering of Roots that Give Us Wings in mid-June. Academy faculty and staff will participate in this gathering and in doing so, will engage with educators from across our Sacred Heart family. I am so very thankful that this event will return to campus and be offered in support of our shared mission!

Grateful to join the journey,

Dr. Susan Dempf
Head of School