New head of school installed at Woodlands Academy

  • Head of School Susan Tyree Dempf, front row center, and, to her left, Suzanne Cook, RSCJ, provincial of the Society of the Sacred Heart, U.S. and Canada Province with members of the Woodlands Academy Board of Trustees on Sept. 23.

    Head of School Susan Tyree Dempf, front row center, and, to her left, Suzanne Cook, RSCJ, provincial of the Society of the Sacred Heart, U.S. and Canada Province with members of the Woodlands Academy Board of Trustees on Sept. 23. Courtesy of Woodlands Academy

 
 
Updated 10/10/2022 12:27 PM

Susan Tyree Dempf, Ph.D., has guided Woodlands Academy of the Sacred Heart as its new head of school since July 1.

Her appointment, by unanimous vote of the school's board of trustees earlier this year, was officially celebrated during an installation ceremony and Mass at Woodlands on Sept. 23.

 

Dempf is the 45th person to serve in this top leadership role since Woodlands Academy's founding in 1858 in Chicago. The school relocated to its current Lake Forest site in 1904.

Alumnae, former faculty and staff, former administrators, and former parents of alumnae were among those joining current members of the Woodlands Academy community in celebrating the new head of school's appointment.

"Today, we will hear messages of hope and trust," math teacher Shao-Yun Guo said in his opening remarks. "We will be encouraged and uplifted as we are invited to turn our thoughts to all that is good."

The Society of the Sacred Heart was represented by Sister Suzanne Cook, RSCJ, provincial of the U.S. and Canada Province, who led the installation ceremony. Mass was celebrated by the Rev. Michael Nacius, pastor of the Church of St. Mary in Lake Forest.

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"After a thorough search process empowered by prayer and rooted in discernment, the board of trustees chose Susan Dempf to guide our school into the future," Woodlands Academy Board of Trustees Chair Lynda L. Mooney said.

"We considered it paramount that our new leader would be a person who lives the mission of the Society of the Sacred Heart and be guided by the values and principles of the Goals and Criteria of a Sacred Heart Education."

Mooney said it was an honor to have Cook at Woodlands to formally install Dempf as head of school on behalf of the Religious of the Society of the Sacred Heart.

"In the name of the Society of the Sacred Heart, I welcome you to your new role as head of this school community," Cook said. "Know of our prayers for you and Woodlands Academy and thank you for your service of furthering the mission of Sacred Heart education."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

During a reception that followed at Woodlands' Gloria Dei Center, Dempf said she was truly humbled and honored by the installation ceremony and thanked all who made it possible.

"I am so very happy to have been invited to join this community of Woodlands Academy of the Sacred Heart," she said. "It has been such a blessing, and I feel as though I've found a home with all of you."

Before assuming her new duties at Woodlands Academy, Dempf served as head of school at Academy of the Sacred Heart in St. Charles, Missouri. Before that, she was director of the high school at Carrollton School of the Sacred Heart in Miami, Florida.

Dempf also worked as national program director for the Network of Sacred Heart Schools. Earlier in her career as an educator, Dempf held the rank of associate professor in the School of Education at Sage Colleges and Canisius College. She also was an assistant professor at Wesley College, where she began her career.

Dempf earned a Ph.D. in teaching and curriculum from Syracuse University, an M.P.E. in administration from Springfield College, and a bachelor's degree in economics from Hobart and William Smith Colleges.

In addition, she is a graduate of The Doane Stuart School, then a member of the Network of Sacred Heart Schools.

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