St. Jean Baptiste High School Names New Head of School

The St. Jean Baptiste High School Board of Trustees and Pastor Rev. John A. Kamas announced the appointment of Molly Smith as the new Head of School effective July 1, 2024. The announcement represents the next chapter in the school’s distinguished 95-year history as it embraces a new era of leadership and builds on its legacy of providing a liberating education.

Ms. Smith is currently the regional superintendent at Partnership Schools, a Catholic, non-profit school management organization with a commitment to excellence, a focus on faith formation and values, and a visionary approach to sustaining urban Catholic schools. She previously served as the principal of Mt. Carmel-Holy Rosary School and brings 15 years of experience as a teacher and administrator in both Catholic and charter schools. A lifelong learner, Ms. Smith holds a BA in Religious Studies from Fordham University in New York and an MA in Elementary Education from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles and expects to complete her MBA from Fordham in 2026.

Ms. Smith will succeed Sr. Maria Cassano who is retiring after a remarkable 15-year tenure leading St. Jean’s with dignity, authenticity, and utmost care. Sr. Maria will become Principal Emerita.

“We are extremely pleased to welcome Molly Smith to St. Jean Baptiste,” said Edward J. Little, chair of the Board of Trustees. “Molly is a passionate, forward-looking educator. Her exceptional experience embodies a commitment to all aspects of academic excellence and demonstrates her dedication to ensuring students are at the center of the Catholic school experience. She has the vision, collaborative instinct, and ability to drive strategic initiatives to lead us into the next chapter of St. Jean’s distinguished history.”

“Selecting a new school leader is one of the board's most important responsibilities,” said Elizabeth Pasciucco, incoming chair of the Board of Trustees and chair of the Head of School Search Committee. “I am grateful for the time and energy that our Search Committee and parents, alumnae, faculty, and staff invested to help us reach this important decision. Molly’s commitment to Catholic, all-girls education is clear, and she embraces the mission and values of SJB, as well as our diverse community, our vibrancy, and our focus on the future. She is the ideal leader to expand and grow our ability to educate and equip the young women who choose St. Jean’s.”

“I am excited to be the new Head of School at St. Jean Baptiste High School,” said Ms. Smith. “I deeply admire the exceptional quality of education provided by St. Jean Baptiste. My introduction to the school began during my tenure as principal of a Catholic elementary school in Harlem. In my first year as principal, I had the great fortune of hiring a St. Jean Baptiste alumna as a teacher, welcoming two student volunteers from St. Jean Baptiste, and collaborating with eighth-grade parents who aspired for their daughters to enroll there. Through these and subsequent interactions, I witnessed firsthand the effect of a St. Jean’s education, as numerous young women returned to my school to visit. Not only were they academically prepared for their next venture, but each seemed to develop a stronger sense of self—exuding confidence and kindness in their interactions.”

Ms. Smith continued, "I look forward to collaborating with the Board of Trustees, working with the dedicated faculty and staff, developing relationships with the students and their families, and upholding the legacy of the sisters of the Congregation of Notre Dame, as we advance the mission of St. Jean Baptiste High School together.

 

Ms. Smith takes the helm at a time of tremendous momentum for St. Jean Baptiste High School. Since 2022, the school has invested in its faculty at an unprecedented level as part of its Plan for Growth, the result of an exhaustive, Multi-year self-study in conjunction with its recently completed Middle State Association reaccreditation process.

 

St. Jean Baptiste High School, an inclusive Catholic community rooted in the Spirit of St. Marguerite Bourgeoys, the foundress of the sisters of the Congregation of Notre Dame, develops women of faith, service, and leadership. Through a rigorous academic program and a commitment to educate the whole person, St. Jean's prepares its students to excel in college and their future professions. Educating young women in New York City since 1929, St. Jean's empowers the whole community to participate actively in the transformation of society for a more just world.