MSM principal named head of school

Sara Jones, current principal at Mount St. Mary Academy, has been selected to serve as the school’s first head of school, effective June 1, 2022. The newly ratified position replaces that of the president as the chief leadership role at the 171-year-old all-girls Catholic high school.


“On behalf of the Mount St. Mary Academy Board of Directors, I am honored to announce the selection of Sara Jones as the new head of school,” said Board Chair Susie Whitacre. “Having served as principal and assistant principal for the last seven years, Sara is the best person to lead the Mount community into our historic school’s next exciting chapter. She has shown exceptional leadership skills during her time at Mount and exemplified the Mercy values so vital for this important role.”


As head of school, Jones will work with three boards of directors connected to the school (the Mercy Education Board, the Academy Board and the Foundation Board) as well as Mount St. Mary Academy’s administrative team to foster an environment of excellence in all operations that is centered in Catholic tradition and guided by the school’s rich heritage of Mercy education. She will be responsible for the effective day-to-day management of the school, for ensuring the provision of academic leadership and strategic vision, for maintaining a financially sustainable organization, and for upholding the quality of the overall student experience.


“We know Sara will uphold the Sisters of Mercy tradition of developing young women with a moral and intellectual foundation rooted in Catholic faith, and she will use her energy, wisdom and strength to continue to create the best academic experiences possible for all of our students,” Whitacre said. “Our Board fully supports Sara Jones, and we are grateful for her acceptance of this key leadership role.”


Mount St. Mary Academy is a sponsored ministry of the Institute of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas and is a member of Mercy Education, which includes 55 schools in six countries and one territory. Jones’ selection as head of school comes with the backing of both organizations.


“We have great confidence in Sara as she steps into her new role at Mount St. Mary Academy. Her demonstrated commitment to Mount’s mission and to integrating the Mercy charism, including the Mercy values and Critical Concerns, into the everyday life of the school lays a strong, faith-filled foundation for her future service to the school community,” said Sister Lisa Griffith, RSM, executive director of Mercy Education.


Before being named Mount St. Mary Academy’s principal in June 2019, Jones served as assistant principal at the school for four years beginning in June 2015. She has worked in various administrative and teaching roles in Catholic education in Arkansas for nearly 20 years. Jones earned a Master of Arts degree in teaching in 2013 and an Educational Specialist degree in August 2015, both from the University of Central Arkansas in Conway. She is also an Arkansas licensed K-12 Building Level Administrator. Mrs. Jones and her husband, Larry, are members of St. Theresa Church in Little Rock. Their son, Adam, is a rising sophomore at Catholic High School.


“I am truly honored to receive this opportunity,” Jones said of her new role. “Mount St. Mary Academy is a phenomenal institution, as evidenced by her 171-year presence in Little Rock. It’s very exciting to be given the chance to help lead MSM into the future while continuing to work together with this special community. I am incredibly blessed.”


Jones will succeed Dr. Pattie Davis, who has served as president of Mount St. Mary Academy since June 2019, as the school’s top administrator. Dr. Davis announced to the Mount community earlier this spring that she would not be returning at the end of the 2021-2022 school year. She was named the new Superintendent of Catholic Schools for the Diocese of Baton Rouge in Louisiana in March.


(PHOTO CREDIT: Jason Masters)


Mount St. Mary Academy, sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy, develops young women with a moral and intellectual foundation rooted in Catholic tradition. Mercy-minded and college-prepared, our students meet the future with wisdom, compassion and integrity.