A Message from the Head of School and Board Chair

Dear Members of the Academy Community,

Summer has arrived at the Academy of the Sacred Heart, the halls are now quiet and the beautiful fountain in the Margaret Caire, RSCJ Courtyard has in recent days drawn the attention of a magnificent hawk. Today, I write to share with you that at the conclusion of the coming academic year, I will complete my service as Head of School at the Academy of the Sacred Heart.

In July of 2017 I arrived in Saint Charles and was filled with gratitude to the Transition Committee for their onboarding plans that welcomed me into the school community. I am proud of what our community has accomplished. Across these years, together, we celebrated the bicentennial of both the Academy of the Sacred Heart and the internationality of the Society of the Sacred Heart, culminating in joy- filled liturgical celebrations at the Academy and the Cathedral Basilica respectively. It is now hard to imagine the Academy without the beautiful front entrance through which we greet students and their parents as well as alumni and visitors, the re-envisioned home of the Seventh and Eighth Classes in Regis Hall and the enhanced technology curriculum offerings centered in the Kocs Computer Lab. Strategic budget planning, continuous enrollment practices, the development of a marketing plan, increased presence on social media and the new Affordable Customized Tuition Plan have all contributed to the work of ‘right-sizing’ the Academy.

I am grateful to current and past Boards with whom I worked; I am grateful to see the Academy through the COVID-19 pandemic with the continued assistance of the Health, Wellness and Safety Task Group. Serving as Head of School and supporting the school opened by Saint Rose Philippine Duchesne is an incredible privilege. While I have submitted my resignation effective June 30, 2022, I am fully committed to my responsibilities and to working with the Board and next Head of School to ensure a successful transition. I look forward to supporting the needs of our students, faculty, staff, alumni and Board as together we work to advance the Academy of the Sacred Heart.


Susan T. Dempf, Ph.D.
Head of School

Dear Members of the Academy Community,

As Dr. Susan Dempf explains in her letter, she will conclude her service to the Academy by the end of the 2021-2022 academic year. Dr. Dempf came to us in July 2017 as the first lay Head of School at the Academy. During her tenure, she oversaw the completion of the beautiful new front entrance, navigated the Academy through the COVID-19 pandemic and led us annually to successful Fund-the-Need appeals at Chemin. On behalf of my fellow Board members, I thank Dr. Dempf for her service and dedication to our students, faculty and staff, and the entire Academy community.

Planning for succession is a fundamental responsibility of the Board of Trustees. As a result, the Board has initiated a search for the Academy’s next Head of School, and is planning for that transition. We are forming a Search Committee, which will oversee the search and selection process and ensure its integrity. We will have a number of planning sessions to identify the desired characteristics and competencies sought in our next Head of School. There will be full transparency and regular communication with the Academy community as we progress in the search process. I assure you the search process will be a consultative one. We will seek the input from the entire Academy community as we work together to find our new leader for the next chapter of the Academy.

It is clear that we have important work ahead of us. St. Rose Philippine Duchesne, our first Head of School, and St. Madeline Sophie Barat provided the model of the mission of Sacred Heart education. The Board is committed to identifying a new Head of School who will exemplify the values inherent in the Goals and Criteria and ensure the integrity of the Academy’s mission as a Sacred Heart School. We are confident in this search process and look forward to the Academy’s future. I ask for your prayers during this time of reflection and discernment.


John E. Ahlheim
Chair, Board of Trustees