SHS Announces New President

Dear Sacred Heart Community,


Last July we informed you that Dr. Cindy Crabtree announced her desire to retire in June of 2020. This advanced notice provided us ample time to manage a successful leadership transition. We remain in a position of strength, guided by our values and Catholic identity, working through a very thorough process to identify the next President of Sacred Heart Schools.


In September, we asked for your input related to the experiences, characteristics and qualities we should be looking for in our next president. The feedback was clear; the community was looking for a mission-driven and dynamic Catholic school leader who could build upon the strong foundation of the schools and lead them into the future. The top, consistent characteristics were:


  • Poise, presence, and outstanding communications skills
  • Significant knowledge of teaching, learning, school operations
  • Leadership/management experience in independent schools, Catholic or non-Catholic
  • Leadership/management experience in Catholic schools
  • Outstanding leadership qualities
  • Honest, trustworthy, transparent
  • Energy, enthusiasm, passion for mission
  • Practicing Catholic
  • Engaging, inspiring, motivational
  • Excellent communicator

As we partnered with the search firm, Carney Sandoe, along with a very committed search committee, we actively sourced candidates from around the country. We were blessed to have what our search firm termed an unusually large quantity of qualified applicants from all over the country. After an extensive evaluation and interview process, three finalists participated in on-campus interviews giving both the Sacred Heart community and the candidates a great opportunity to learn more about each other. At these campus visits, a much larger number of our stakeholders (alumni, parents, faculty, staff, and students) had the opportunity to interact with the candidates and provide feedback to the search committee. This feedback played an important role in the selection of the next President.





On behalf of the Board of Trustees, along with the Ursuline Sisters of Louisville, I am most pleased to announce Dr. Karen McNay as our next President. Dr. McNay distinguished herself among the applicants for the President position in a number of crucial ways. Her strong Catholic faith, philosophy of educating the whole student, and strong leadership and communication skills all marked her as the inspiring leader to take SHS from strength to strength.



Dr. McNay comes to us from Ursuline Academy in New Orleans, a member of the Ursuline Education Network just like Sacred Heart Schools. As such, she brings a wealth of affection and experience with the Ursuline charism. Furthermore, Ursuline Academy, like SHS, includes early childhood education all the way through high school. As an educator, artist, and sports fan herself, Dr. McNay believes in educating the whole student with an all-encompassing vision making every student feel welcomed and included so that each student can reach his or her maximum potential. 


We will be working with Dr. Crabtree and Dr. McNay on a seamless transition plan, with a formal transition date of June 30, 2020. We look forward to you getting to know Dr. McNay on a more personal basis over the next few months.


"It will be my pleasure and honor to work with Dr. McNay as she transitions to Louisville and Sacred Heart Schools. As an experienced president, she will lead Sacred Heart Schools into an exciting future," added Sacred Heart Schools President Dr. Cynthia Crabtree.


We will continue to move forward from our position of strength under Dr. Crabtree's leadership, and we will be celebrating Cindy's contributions through the remainder of the academic semester.


I want to thank our partners at Carney Sandoe for their help in the process. Finally, I want to especially thank the outstanding search committee, under the phenomenal leadership of Charles Paradis:


  • Charles Paradis - Chair
  • Sister Janet Marie Peterworth
  • Amy Olson
  • Angela Becerra
  • Leslye Neff Ulmer
  • Anne Ramsey
  • Greg Daunhauer
  • Mike Johnson
  • Cindy Zipperle


Also, Rachel Shain has provided terrific support to our team, along with her day job as executive assistant to Dr. Crabtree. Thank you, Rachel!


You should be proud of the work and level of commitment of this search committee. We are very confident that Dr. McNay will be an outstanding president of Sacred Heart Schools.


Best regards,

Timothy G. Rutledge

Chair, Board of Trustees

Sacred Heart Schools