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Go on advancing, you are on the true road. Remember, it is not you who have taken it but God who has placed you there. Walk trustfully and may nothing in the world be able to dishearten you. Give your heart, once and for all, to love and trust.

- St. Madeleine Sophie Barat 

Board of Trustees Announce New Head of School 

 

Dear Sacred Heart Academy Community, 

It is our great pleasure to announce the appointment of Carla Jantos MacMullen as Sacred Heart Academy's next Head of School. 

The Board of Trustees has unanimously and enthusiastically endorsed Mrs. MacMullen’s appointment following the conclusion of a national search that ensued over the past seven months. 

We look forward to celebrating Carla’s appointment on February 14th when Mrs. MacMullen will visit Bryn Mawr to meet and greet community members, and to welcoming Carla to Bryn Mawr as our new Head of School in July 2022.

As the Board and Search Committee led the search for SHA’s next Head of School these past months, we were guided by two critical considerations: Mission and Sustainability. Community surveys uncovered a broadly held consensus between the Board and community that above all, our next Head of School must be an eloquent champion for the Mission, Goals, Criteria and unique value proposition of a Sacred Heart Academy education, and equally skilled in supporting and leading the critical business operations of school life that will sustain our Mission for the future. 

In Carla MacMullen, our Board feels confident we have found a leader to match our moment. 

In preliminary meetings with the Search Committee and over the course of two days of conversations with dozens of Sacred Heart constituents, Carla distinguished herself as a worthy Mission steward who leads and communicates with authenticity, poise, integrity and faith-filled grace.  She also demonstrated her accomplishments as an institution-builder experienced in guiding school communities and teams towards transformative operational advancements with a strategic, collaborative and data-driven approach, coupled with courage, confidence and good humor. 

Carla will be coming to SHA with over 30 years of independent school faculty and leadership experience, including as Science Department Chair and Dean of Faculty at The Hopkins School in New Haven, Connecticut, and most recently, as Head of School at The Kew-Forest School, in Forest Hills, Queens, New York - a century-old PK through 12 independent school which she has ably guided through both the COVID pandemic and significant operational improvements. 

Carla began her career as a science educator. She obtained a Bachelors of Science in Chemistry from Denison University, followed by pursuing graduate work in Health Education and Women’s Studies, and a Masters of Education in Private School Leadership from The Klingenstein Center at Columbia University’s Teachers College. Mrs. MacMullen has attributed the support of the faculty at her Catholic elementary school with her choosing to enter a STEM field at a time when girls were not regularly encouraged to do so. This experience fuels her excitement and enthusiasm for leading a Catholic all-girls Sacred Heart Network School.

Carla shared with us her belief that her foundational academic and spiritual development unfolded in a Catholic school as a student and the strong resonance of SHA's Mission, faithfulness to the Sacred Heart Goals and Criteria, and liberal arts approach in an all-girls educational environment with her own educational experience and philosophy.  

Mrs. MacMullen’s career also includes extensive experience collaborating with faculty, staff and school communities to advance enrollment goals, development & advancement initiatives, diversity, equity & inclusion efforts, faculty development, and financial sustainability - all core priorities of SHA’s Courage for the Journey Strategic Plan. At Kew-Forest, notable achievements of Mrs. MacMullen’s tenure include increasing enrollment by over 20% in 2.5 cycles, soliciting six-figure leadership gifts, leveraging the remote learning resources of Stanford Online High School, and developing a campus master plan and planning for and executing a transformative real estate transaction in partnership with her Board, among others.

Carla will begin her official duties as Head of School on July 18, 2022. She will be moving to our area with her husband, Sandy, a retired independent school history teacher and Connecticut Lacrosse Hall-of-Famer. They have three grown children who live and work in New England. In the meantime, our Search Committee has shifted to working with Mrs. MacMullen to develop a robust transition plan that will provide Carla with numerous opportunities to connect with faculty and staff, including Ms. Cryor, well in advance of her formal arrival on campus and assure a smooth transition.

On behalf of the Board and the Search Committee, we are humbled by and grateful for the love, commitment and prayers of the SHA community throughout these past seven months as we journeyed towards this milestone moment for Sacred Heart Academy.  We also acknowledge the blessed guidance of Sacred Heart Network leadership, the RSCJ community and our search consultant partners from Carney Sandoe & Associates that informed our work at every stage. Finally, we owe tremendous gratitude to Deirdre Cryor for her steady, generous, brave and whole-hearted leadership throughout the search process and throughout these past 7 years, and we look forward to our community gathering in the coming months to celebrate Ms. Cryor’s significant and lasting impact on SHA. 

We have valued the active participation and support of all of the trustees, alumnae, parents, faculty, staff and students who shared their passionate hopes for Sacred Heart’s future at every stage of our search and we will be counting on your continued participation and support as we warmly welcome Carla MacMullen and her family to Bryn Mawr and go about advancing along SHA’s ‘true road’ together. 

In love and trust, 

Melanie McMenamin ‘93, P’26 
Chair

Mary Locke Cavallaro ‘86, P’22
Chair, Head of School Search Committee

From Carla Jantos MacMullen

 

Dear Sacred Heart Academy Community,

I am proud and truly honored to have been selected as the next Head of School at Sacred Heart Academy Bryn Mawr. My connection to the School and its Mission was palpable from my initial conversation with the Search Committee back in November. Each member’s passion for the School and commitment to the Sacred Heart Goals and Criteria was contagious. Their thoughtful questioning, paired with my responses, was energizing and full of possibility. I am blessed to be able to continue conversation with them and the rest of the SHA community as Head of School. 

I am deeply grateful to members of the Board and Search Committee, especially Melanie McMenamin ‘93, P’26 and Mary Cavallaro ‘86, P’22 who set the tone for my candidate experience and visit before I even stepped on campus. I also appreciate the warmth, time, and perspective each and every community member shared with me over two chock-full days. I could not have felt more comfortable and welcome during my well-crafted (and unexpectedly hybrid!) campus visit. 

For over 30 years, my work as an educator and school leader has been a vocation and a calling, never simply a job. I have fully lived every dimension of my work in both independent schools I have served. Viewing every experience as a learning opportunity, I grew my practice and understanding around educational methods, the necessary pathways for a child’s social-emotional growth, devoted teachers and the young people they inspire, parents in partnership with the school, loyal and engaged alumnae, and the ways in which institutions must evolve to remain relevant while honoring tradition. My toolbox is heavy and I am looking forward to the opportunity to share my personal approach and varied experience with the Sacred Heart Academy community. 

From my own formative years at a Catholic elementary school in suburban Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania through my three children’s experience in a Catholic elementary school in an urban setting in Connecticut, I recognized that authentically leading from my heart would be possible in the service of a faith-based mission-focused school. The ethos of Sacred Heart Network schools and their Goals and Criteria mirror my beliefs and approach to life with their forward-thinking perspectives on faith, service, and humanity. As a woman in STEM and the mother of two daughters, I believe in the power of environments where girls and young women are freely able to develop habits of mind and strong character through an intentional and innovative academic and extracurricular experience no matter which career or leadership path they follow. I found a synergy of what matters to me at my core at Sacred Heart Academy Bryn Mawr. 

While the beautiful campus and purposeful engagement permeating every space felt like home, it was the people I met - the girls, the teachers who support them, and all of the other Sacred Heart-affiliated adults  - who convinced me that Sacred Heart Academy Bryn Mawr was a place where I could make a difference. I cannot wait to get to know you and our very special School and to give you the opportunity to get to know me. This will happen soon.

With anticipation,  

Carla Jantos MacMullen

 

Mary Locke Cavallaro ‘86, P’22
Chair, Head of School Search Committee

Members:

  • Melanie McMenamin ‘93, P’26 
  • Betsy Gordon P’24 
  • Margaret Strom, RSCJ
  • Ronald A. Algeo P’19, ‘21 

Advisory Committee Members:

  • Vic D'Ascenzo, Director of Institutional Advancement
  • Nicole Thomas, P’31 and Parents' Association Co-President
  • Nancy Franz ’88, P’17, P’19, P’21, Former President of Alumnae Association and Former Trustee
  • Tammy Hart, P’23, Former Mothers' Association President and Director of Enrollment Management
  • Mary Horstmann ’00
  • Michele Jeffries ’97, P’27, Lower School Teacher
  • Tia Plummer ’01, Former Trustee
  • Joanie Milhous ’87, Former Trustee
  • Suzanne Robinson ’76, P’06, Former Middle School Director and Alumnae/Annual Fund Coordinator
  • Marian Rosario ’16, Alumnae Association Board and DEI Coordinator
  • Cara Saraco, Director of Academics
  • Zach Schuler, Middle & Upper School Teacher and SHOOPs Coach
  • Bridget Thompson ’02, P’33 Alumnae Association President and Trustee
  • Jennifer Vincent, Director of Finance