Kathryn H. Purcell, Saint Joseph Academy’s second president, is a self-proclaimed “girls’ school advocate.” As a lifelong educator and leader, she has seen firsthand how this type of education can help young women grow as individuals and engaged members of a community. She’s experienced the outcomes from many perspectives: as a student and parent, as well as a teacher and administrator. “For me, attending an all-girls’ high school was a transformative educational experience. I was challenged academically and personally, yet my teachers were always there to cheer me on. All-girls’ schools share ideals and values that truly set them apart.”
Mrs. Purcell’s point-of-view is influenced heavily by her 24-year tenure at Laurel School, where she dedicated her career to the advancement of all-girls’ education, seeking out leadership roles that positioned her to make the most difference. Her career began as a science teacher and volleyball coach, leading young women both in and out of the classroom. She quickly moved into administrative roles at the school, serving as Dean of Students, Co-Director of the Upper School and then Associate Head of School. It was in this role that Mrs. Purcell was instrumental in both the school’s daily operations and the long-term strategic vision. As a member of the school’s Finance Committee and Senior Strategy team, she also directly impacted the business side of the school, from attracting students to assuring financial stewardship.
Mrs. Purcell became President of Saint Joseph Academy in 2020. As the Academy’s leader, Mrs. Purcell is focused on ensuring its financial stability, academic offerings, programming and physical facilities meet the needs of the dynamic learning environment and growing enrollment of students. Additionally, she is a proponent of developing student agency for the nearly 700 young women who attend the Academy and engaging its more than 18,592 alumnae. Under her leadership the Academy’s Global Scholars Program and Entrepreneurship Club were launched.
Mrs. Purcell holds a master of arts in education from Ursuline College and a bachelor degree from John Carroll University. She is the Chair of the Board of Trustees for One Schoolhouse. Mrs. Purcell and her husband are the proud parents of four children and are parishioners at the Church of the Gesu.