Nazareth Academy High School and the Board of Trustees are pleased to announce the appointment of Mrs. Denise LePera as the Inaugural President of Nazareth Academy High School, effective July 10, 2017. Earlier this year, the Board of Trustees approved the implementation of the President-Principal organizational model, a leadership structure which has been successfully implemented by more than half of college preparatory schools throughout the US.
“What an honor and privilege to be chosen as the first president of Nazareth Academy High School,” states Mrs. LePera. “Working together with Principal Sr. Rita Fanning and with a mindset of managing for growth, leadership, and innovation, our hopeis to position Nazareth Academy High School as the premier center of secondary Catholic education in Philadelphia. With an unceasing commitment to educating the mind, body, and spirit, along with an unparalleled dedication to academic excellence, the Nazareth experience will transform girls into young women prepared to be life-long learners and leaders in a global society.”
“Nazareth Academy High School began simply with the prayers of Blessed Frances Siedliska, Foundress of the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth. For the Sisters, embracing faith, family, and education is not just their mission; it’s how they live out that mission every day in everything they do. With their model, we challenge our young women to attain their full potential academically, spiritually, and personally. For nearly 90 years, Nazareth Academy has exemplified excellence in college preparatory education.”
As president, Mrs. LePera will oversee the operational side of Nazareth Academy High School: marketing, development, advancement, admissions, and finance. Principal Sr. Rita Fanning, CSFN, will continue to lead all aspects of academics, student life, and athletics.
Mrs. LePera notes, “I am most impressed that Nazareth maintains a faculty/student ratio of 9 to 1, while offering an array of robust AP courses, electives, art, music and athletic programs usually associated with larger schools.” In collaboration with Principal Sr. Rita Fanning CSFN, Mrs. LePera will advance the mission and articulate the Catholic identity of Nazareth Academy with passion and vision while modeling faith-centered leadership.
Commitment to Catholic education has been a hallmark of her professional life. Since 2014, she has served as the chief executive of Archbishop Ryan High School, the largest secondary school in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. An experienced and effective leader, Mrs. LePera oversaw a $9M budget, professionalized the advancement office, implemented a communications plan with a social media expansion with more than 11,000 followers, created a student-centered leadership team with a commitment to excellence in academics and student life, and stabilized declining enrollment at the school.
Mrs. LePera holds a Master of Science Degree in Strategic Leadership and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Liberal Studies, both from Neumann University in Aston (Delaware County). In assuming the presidency at Nazareth Academy, she brings a wealth of expertise in leadership and advancement. Mrs. LePera served as Executive Director of Institutional Advancement at Roman Catholic High School for Boys from 2008-2014. Additionally, she was Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations from 1999-2006 and Director of Institutional Gifts and Donor Relations from 2006-2008 at Neumann University and Donor Relations Director for the American Cancer Society, Philadelphia Office, from 1995-1999.
Mrs. LePera is active on several boards including the Board of Limited Jurisdiction at St. Martha School in Northeast Philadelphia serving on the Enrollment Management Committee and the Northeast Branch YMCA. In 2016, she was the recipient of the SmartCEO Brava Award presented to Executive Directors of Nonprofits on the basis of organizational growth, community impact, and mentoring.
Family is an integral part of Mrs. LePera’s life. Mrs. LePera is the oldest of 3 children. She and her husband Steve are the proud parents of two sons, Steve and Dan, both graduates of the Catholic school system and the proud grandparents of two little girls, Charlie and Anna. She commented, “Nazareth Academy is one family. I am so thrilled to be a part of that family!”
Mrs. LePera and her husband are members of St. Ephrem Parish in Bensalem, PA (Bucks County).