The 106-year-old Notre Dame de Sion School has a new leader.
Entrepreneur Alicia Herald, who chairs the Missouri Public Charter School Commission, has been named Sion's President of Schools, effective August 1.
Herald was chosen by the school's board of trustees. It's the first time Sion has had a president's position rather than a head of schools.
"Our Board of Trustees made the decision to change the position title to President from Head of Schools, as this title more accurately reflects the responsibilities of leading the principals of the high school and grade school," said Ann Uryasz, who chairs the board.
Herald, 34 and a 2002 graduate of Sion, "will lead the Notre Dame de Sion mission-driven community, which includes a coeducational pre-kindergarten through 8th grade lower school in Hyde Park, and a college preparatory all-girls high school in south Kansas City," according to a statement released Monday by officials at the Catholic school.
"I believe the difference between a great education and a life-changing educational experience is the community in which it takes place," Herald said in the statement.
"Sion gave me not only a highly rigorous academic foundation, but also taught me the critical values of justice, faith, teamwork, and discipline. . . It is an incredible honor to put my experience and leadership to work in the next phase of Notre Dame de Sion’s rich history and tradition."
Accepting the position brings Herald back to her native Kansas City from St. Louis, where she has been working as a consultant following the merger and sale of myEDmatch, a technology start-up she founded in 2013. The company matches educators with teaching jobs in schools across the country. Herald and her company have received several regional awards since its start.
She was named one of the Top 100 Tech Leaders in Kansas City. In 2015 the St. Louis Business Journal named myEDmatch the Most Innovative Company in Education.
In addition to her charter schools position, Herald serves as chair of the KIPP Endeavor School Board and is a former senior fellow in education innovation at the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.
Herald received undergraduate degrees in political science and Spanish from Washington University in St Louis. She began her career in education working for Teach For America, first as a fourth-grade teacher in south central Los Angeles and later as executive director of Teach For America’s Kansas City region.
In addition to her undergraduate degrees, Herald has a master’s in education from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles and a master’s in business administration from the Washington University Olin School of Business.
She and her husband, Wade, are expecting their first child this summer.
“Alicia’s experiences and presence in the Kansas City community make her a great fit to take on the responsibilities of this newly defined role,” Uryasz said.
Sion, while affiliated with the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, is governed by an independent board of trustees.
Sion was founded by the Congregation of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Sion, and the original school opened in Hyde Park in 1912. An all-girls high school campus opened in south Kansas City in 1962. In 1990, ownership of the school was transferred from the Sisters of Sion to a lay Board of Trustees.