HEATHER WALSH | St. James Academy

Heather Walsh is excited to begin her new role with St. James Academy as the director of admission and enrollment management. She brings to the position a rich and varied background. Walsh has a master’s degree in reading/writing/literacy from the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education and robust editorial experience, which she’ll apply in her position with St. James. 

WHAT DREW YOU TO EDUCATION?

I didn’t necessarily intend a career in education; it’s more accurate to say that education found me. I knew that I wanted to tell stories and thought that my career path would take me into journalism, but I received some advice from a college mentor that the noise of life never seemed to drown out. He said, “Become an expert in something you’re passionate about and tell those stories.” That advice led me to the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education, immersed in project-based learning, literacy development, and instructional design research. A graduate assistantship landed me in the Office of Information Systems and Computing – and I soon found myself creating innovative learning experiences for learners of all ages and educational institutions of all sizes. Applying best practices to new technology-based vehicles was exciting, and to this day, I love the iterative nature of education practice and how it intersects with storytelling. Over the last decade, I’ve applied those principles to helping many area independent schools and informal education organizations design learning-based outreach programs. Each program was intentionally crafted to communicate what makes the school or organization unique. I’ve always told my clients that strategic marketing is really applying good educational practice to storytelling. All of these experiences have brought me to St. James Academy as the new director of admissions and enrollment management – and I can’t wait to start the storytelling process in this new role. 

WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT YOUR CURRENT SCHOOL? 

The faculty and staff are truly the heart of St. James and all of them champion project-based and experiential learning. That resonates with me as an educator – especially since the learning process is guided by Episcopal tradition and grounded in character development. Education at St. James is a journey that capitalizes on innate curiosity at the preschool level and develops it into academic confidence at the middle school level. But strong academic skills are only a part of what makes St. James graduates shine in their respective high schools and colleges. The faculty community constantly works toward nurturing each student to develop their individual and collective identities as next generation leaders. Engaged faculty and an enriching curriculum make all the difference for the families that we serve. 

WHAT DO YOU HOPE TO ACHIEVE IN YOUR ROLE? 

Earlier this summer, St. James revealed a reimagined logo that features the sun rising behind a light tower. I can’t help but think that the image – which wonderfully encapsulates the dawning of a new era for the school – also illustrates how I interpret my role at the school. As our entire community emerges from the pandemic and looks toward ‘what’s next,’ I’m excited to be one of the community’s authors as SJA writes its next chapter. I look forward to helping guide families on their child’s educational journey and to cultivate the growth of our collaborative, intellectual, and compassionate community.

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