Meet the New Head of School


Next Head of School

Convent of the Sacred Heart, 91st Street announces the appointment of Kate D. Adams as the next Head of School effective July 1, 2023. 

Dear 91st Street Community, 

On behalf of the Convent of the Sacred Heart Board of Trustees, we are delighted to announce the appointment of Kate D. Adams as our next Head of School. After an extensive search that began in December, the Head of School Search Committee recommended Mrs. Adams to the Board of Trustees, who voted unanimously in support of her appointment to succeed Dr. Joseph J. Ciancaglini effective July 1, 2023. 

About the Next Head of School 

“From the moment I walked onto the 91st Street campus, I felt at home,” Mrs. Adams said. “As a Catholic, I am thrilled to embrace the Sacred Heart Goals and Criteria and be a part of a spectacular mission-focused community. I understand the importance of an education that empowers girls for bright futures, and as a school leader, I want the students I serve to have every opportunity to develop their gifts so they can make an impact. My spirituality is deeply tied to my own upbringing growing up in a Catholic home, where my parents modeled a deep faith rooted in respecting others’ beliefs and doing good in the world. St. Madeleine Sophie Barat said, ‘be humble, be simple and bring joy to others.’ It is with great humility and joy that I accept the privilege of leading the next chapter of Convent of the Sacred Heart.” 

Mrs. Adams is an innovative educational leader who currently serves as Chief Academic Officer at The Awty School in Houston, Texas. She oversees all aspects of teaching and learning for the PreK-12 school of 1,750 students, including four divisions on two campuses. In addition to supervising the school’s division heads and technology leadership team, she leads the implementation of the school’s strategic vision. A former history teacher, she has been a champion of STEAM education and global studies, improving the school’s integration of educational technology and leading the expansion of its language immersion program. This experience will be invaluable as 91st Street expands its curriculum around the new FutureLab and Sacred Heart Network signature programs. 

Engaging and approachable, Mrs. Adams has considerable expertise as an educational administrator. At Awty, she developed strong marketing and strategic planning skills as she championed the capital campaign, and was instrumental in raising millions of dollars for the school’s strategic goals. Her insights will be vital as we continue to amplify 91st Street’s position as a best-in-class academic institution in New York City. She has extensive experience working with Boards as an administrator, serving on the advancement, finance, and building and grounds committees at Awty, and she is a board member of the Magellan International School in Austin. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in History with a minor in Social Work, and a Master of Education in Administration from The University of Texas at Austin.

Mrs. Adams also brings a global educational perspective. In addition to growing up in Cairo, Egypt, she has held leadership roles at schools with an international focus; she was Dean of Instruction at Houston Academy for International studies, and Founding Principal at the Arabic Immersion Magnet School. She has a demonstrated commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion work and has advanced the culture of inclusion and belonging at Awty through implementing the Global Diversity and Inclusion Benchmark and Intercultural Development Inventory and overhauling new employee orientation. She herself has participated in a number of professional development opportunities, including the Harvard Graduate School of Education’s “Women in Education Leadership Program,” Rice University’s “Strategic Marketing Management Program,” the National Association of Business Officer’s “Budget Meets Mission” training, the Heads Network Annual Conference and Leadership Seminar, and the National Association of Independent Schools’ People of Color Conference. 

Mrs. Adams has deep ties to New York City. In addition to her parents hailing from the East Coast, she spent almost every summer of her childhood visiting family here. Mrs. Adams and her husband are the parents of three daughters ages 8, 5 and 2. Their family is excited to make New York their home and join our 91st Street community.  

Our Search Process 

The appointment of Kate Adams is the result of a national and international search that began in December 2021 and was led by the Head of School Search Committee and our consultants at Carney, Sandoe & Associates. As the Committee conducted the search, it was guided by these critical considerations: our Sacred Heart mission; commitment to academic excellence; strategic planning; and head of school/educational leadership experience. We extend our heartfelt thanks to all members of the community whose participation was essential to a thorough, thoughtful, and inclusive process resulting in the successful recruitment of our new Head of School.

The Future of 91st Street 

Mrs. Adams will officially step into her new role in July of 2023, following the remarkable 16-year tenure of Dr. Ciancaglini. Guided by a shared mission, Joe and Kate will work together toward a seamless transition as we continue to build on our rich history of excellence in Sacred Heart education.

We wish you a wonderful summer and remain deeply grateful for your continued support and commitment to Sacred Heart.


Jackie Mitchell

Chair, Head of School Search Committee
Chair, Board of Trustees

Head of School Search Committee

The Search Committee is a diverse group of trustees, parents, and alumnae who represent a variety of viewpoints and backgrounds. It includes the following individuals:

  • Jackie Mitchell, P’20, P’17, Search Committee Chair (Chair, Board of Trustees) 
  • Rosalia Danilatou-Frangos, P’24, P’28 (Trustee, PA President 2020-21)  
  • Sr. Fran de la Chapelle, RSCJ (former Trustee, Alumna, Eden Hall ’57)     
  • Rev. Chris Devron, SJ (Trustee; President, Fordham Prep) 
  • Elizabeth Guillory ’96 (Director of Diversity, Equity and Community Life; Alumna, 91st Street)
  • Janine Jjingo ’98 (Trustee; Alumna, 91st Street) 
  • Laurie Lapeyre, P’13 (Board Chair 2009-2013) 
  • Caroleen Mackin P’20, P’18 (Board Chair 2016-2020; Alumna, Greenwich ’81) 
  • John Neary, P’24 (Trustee)   
  • Lorena Sayer O’Brien, P’26 (Trustee; Alumna, Stuart ’88) 
  • Brad Robins, P’15, P’21 (Trustee) 
  • Jason Vermillion (English Department Chair) 
  • Alisa Wood ’97, P’29 (Trustee; Alumna, 91st Street)

Head of School Search Communications

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