Mount St. Mary Academy principal Sara Jones has been chosen to be the head of school, effective June 1.
The new position will be a return to a leadership structure with a combined president and principal role. Head of school will replace the president as the chief leadership role at the 171-year-old all-girls Catholic high school.
The school made the announcement May 25.
Mount St. Mary Academy board chairman Susie Whitacre, said, “Having served as principal and assistant principal for the last seven years, Sara is the best person to lead the Mount community into our historic school’s next exciting chapter. She has shown exceptional leadership skills during her time at Mount and exemplified the Mercy values so vital for this important role.”
As head of school, Jones will work with three boards of directors — the Mercy Education Board, the Academy Board and the Foundation Board — as well as the administrative team. She will be responsible for the day-to-day management of the school, providing academic leadership and strategic vision, maintaining a financially sustainable organization and upholding the quality of the student experience.
“We know Sara will uphold the Sisters of Mercy tradition of developing young women with a moral and intellectual foundation rooted in Catholic faith, and she will use her energy, wisdom and strength to continue to create the best academic experiences possible for all of our students,” Whitacre said.
Mount St. Mary Academy is a sponsored ministry of the Institute of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas and is a member of Mercy Education, which includes 55 schools in six countries and one territory.
Sister Lisa Griffith, RSM, executive director of Mercy Education, said, “We have great confidence in Sara as she steps into her new role at Mount St. Mary Academy. Her demonstrated commitment to Mount’s mission and to integrating the Mercy charism, including the Mercy values and critical concerns, into the everyday life of the school lays a strong, faith-filled foundation for her future service to the school community.”
Before being named MSM principal in 2019, Jones served as assistant principal for four years. She held administrative and teaching roles in Catholic education in Arkansas for nearly 20 years. Jones earned a master’s degree in teaching in 2013 and an educational specialist degree in August 2015, both from the University of Central Arkansas in Conway. She is also an Arkansas-licensed K-12 building level administrator. Jones and her husband, Larry, are members of St. Theresa Church in Little Rock. Their son, Adam, is a rising sophomore at Catholic High School.
“I am truly honored to receive this opportunity,” Jones said. “Mount St. Mary Academy is a phenomenal institution, as evidenced by her 171-year presence in Little Rock. It’s very exciting to be given the chance to help lead MSM into the future while continuing to work together with this special community. I am incredibly blessed.”
Jones will succeed Dr. Pattie Davis, who has served as president of Mount St. Mary Academy since June 2019. Davis recently was named the superintendent of Catholic schools for the Diocese of Baton Rouge.
Robin Johnson will become the new assistant principal beginning with the 2022-2023 school year. Johnson is currently head of the science department and has taught at MSM since 2012. She began working in Catholic education in 2009.
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