Head of School Selection Process

In July 2022, after three years as Merion Mercy Academy’s Head of School, Laura Farrell began serving as Executive Advisor to the Board of Trustees. Installed as interim Head of School for the 2022-23 academic year is former MMA Director of Operations Marianne Grace. A search for a permanent Head of School has commenced and we continue to move forward with the important work of Merion Mercy Academy.

Search Process

The Board of Trustees, in collaboration with consultants at Carney, Sandoe & Associates and the Head of School Search Committee, is managing the search for the permanent Head of School to lead Merion Mercy Academy. All members of our school community will have opportunities to participate in this important process. Please see the preliminary timetable below.



July 2022

Announcement of Laura Farrell’s decision to step down as Head of School; the Board of Trustees appoints Marianne Grace as Interim Head of School 

August 2022

Vetting and selection of the search firm; selection of the Search Committee

September 2022

Announcing search process to Merion Mercy community; soliciting community feedback through surveys responses and focus groups; approving the position description

October 2022

Recruiting and vetting qualified candidates  by Carney, Sandoe & Associates; selection of semi-finalists

November 2022

Semifinalist interviews and selection of finalists; finalists engage with the Merion Mercy community

December 2022

Board votes on recommended candidate 

 January 2023

Board of Trustees selects and announces next Head of School

Carney, Sandoe & Associates

Merion Mercy is partnering with Carney, Sandoe & Associates, a consulting firm with significant experience in independent and Catholic school leadership search. Barbara Daush, formerly president of St. Agnes Academy and St. Dominic School in Memphis, TN, and a member of the MMA Head of School search team in 2018, is now the head of Carney, Sandoe’s Catholic Schools Practice and will be leading the search. We are thrilled to welcome her back to MMA. Barbara will be joined by her colleague, Brandon Jacobs, who has extensive independent school experience and is local to our area.  

Head of School Search Committee Members

The Head of School Search Committee has the responsibility to engage a recruiting firm and identify candidates for a successor for the permanent Head of School, who will then be presented to the full Board of Trustees. We are grateful to this committee, which includes current parents, past parents, alumnae, and educators. The various members of the search committee were chosen based on a distinct set of skills, affiliations, backgrounds, and perspectives they bring to the search process:
  • Megan Knott P ’21, Committee Chair: Trustee
  • Mark Bullock: Trustee
  • Sr. Danielle Gagnon, RSM: Director of Mission and Ministry
  • Beth Howley Krieger ’76: Trustee
  • Sr. Christine McCann, RSM: Trustee, Former MMA Interim Head of School
  • Maggie Hepp Oliver ’95, P ’24: Current Parent
  • Pat Sack: English Teacher and Department Chair
  • Nell Travascio Stetser ’85 (non-voting): MESA representative
  • Laura Stubbs, Ph.D., ’75: Trustee
  • Theresa Tensuan-Eli, Ph.D., P ’22: Trustee

The Archives: Letters from the Head of School Search Committee and Board of Trustees

An independent, Catholic, all-girls college preparatory high school for grades 9-12
Merion Mercy Academy
511 Montgomery Avenue Merion Station, PA 19066
P (610) 664-6655
F (610) 664-6322
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