Jean Frazier Leadership Institute Celebrates Five-Year Anniversary

Today, Sacred Heart Schools celebrates five years of formal leadership programming through the Jean Frazier Leadership Institute. We have enhanced the leadership culture at our schools, greatly expanding on and formalizing leadership learning and development at all levels. The Jean Frazier Leadership Institute is the first of its kind in our Louisville community.

For 145 years, we have fostered and empowered leaders in Sacred Heart Schools, but five years ago, we launched the Jean Frazier Leadership Institute to ensure we had formalized programming that reached every student and produced quantifiable results.

Since its inception, the Institute has introduced 15 authentic initiatives to engage students from Sacred Heart Model School and Sacred Heart Academy in formal leadership development. Our students have explored leadership in the classroom and practiced it in the community through internships, service, and entrepreneurship. They have learned goal setting, personal finance, and professional skills. Our programming includes but extends far beyond traditional opportunities like clubs, retreats, speakers, and workshops. These inspire leadership, but we believe authentic experiences transform leaders.

At Sacred Heart, we know leadership can be taught and nurtured through deliberate study and practice. Everyone can learn to lead.


"My experiences through JFLI helped strengthen my confidence and assure me that I have the capabilities to lead. While I am a quiet and reserved introvert, my participation Guernsey with Judgein JFLI helped give me the courage to become a leader in the SHA community.”


Senior Grace Guernsey, Frazier Fellow and Navigation Mentor
Completed an internship with SHA alumna, Honorable Jessica Moore, District Court Judge.


“They learn there is not just one type of leader, and it’s amazing to see and hear from our students like Grace and Arianna who didn’t see themselves as leaders when they Hitron and Martinellientered our schools but, throughout their years, learned how to lead in their own, unique way.”

Lauren Hitron, Director of the Jean Frazier Leadership Institute with Senior Arianna Martinelli, nominated for the Young Philanthropist of the Year Award by the Association of Fundraising Professionals



Impact at Sacred Heart Academy

JFLI is unique among high school leadership programs, especially in Louisville.

Formal, authentic leadership programming is for all students and integrated into the curriculum for all four years. With no prerequisite for participating, students begin freshman year with Navigation Teams and Freshman Seminar and move through at least 12 distinct programs as they fine-tune their leadership skills.

Leadership transformation occurs through authentic leadership experiences. Students learn leadership in the classroom and practice those skills in real-world settings. Through 40- and 80-hour internships and job shadowing with local, national, and international organizations, students explore leadership in a career setting. Students also participate in the Heart Tank Entrepreneurship Pitch competition and implement service initiatives with non-profits. They are involved in community leadership groups such as the Louisville Youth Philanthropy Council, Norton Teen Board, and Teen Court, among many others.

The Jean Frazier Leadership Institute links our alumnae and community partners directly to the students. Through the Lunch and Learn career development program, alumnae speakers and workshops, and networking events, we create opportunities for students to engage and learn from leaders around the country. In addition to the nearly 80 alumnae who return for Career Day sponsored by the SHA Alumnae Association each year, in the past five years, more than 100 alumnae and friends have engaged with students through JFLI programs.

Those students who choose to take advantage of every leadership programming opportunity at SHA graduate as Frazier Fellows with a leadership certificate of distinction on their formal high school transcript. Beginning with the Class of 2022, at least one-quarter of the students in each class are making this commitment to leadership.

Proven Results at Sacred Heart Academy

  • More than doubled the number of students receiving college scholarships specifically related to leadership last year.
  • More than 50 students completed the Charlie Kane Family Internship program in the last two years, serving local non-profits and businesses to international NGOs.
  • 3,500 internship hours dedicated to non-profit, STEM, and business industries since 2018.
  • 47 Frazier Fellows graduated with a Leadership Certificate of Distinction on their formal transcript in 2022, and 200 active sophomores, juniors, and seniors are on their way.
  • 100% of the Class of 2022 received formal leadership programming.
  • 60% opted into at least one additional JFLI program
  • 50% were involved in at least two additional programs
  • Nearly 1,000 students have successfully transitioned to high school and found their way at SHA through the Navigation Team mentor program and its’ 160 trained mentors.
  • More than 300 students completed the Presenting Yourself workshop where they learned professional interview and communication skills.
  • More than 60 students participated in the Heart Tank Pitch competition.


“The Jean Frazier Leadership Institute provides opportunities to each and everyLucy Helm Valkyrie, teaching leadership skills and helping to facilitate internships and project-based learning. Along with the Ursuline Core Values, graduates will be prepared for both college and the workplace in an extraordinary way.”


Lucy Lee Helm SHA `75
Executive Vice President and Chief Partner Officer (retired), Starbucks
Member of JFLI Leadership Cabinet


Thanks to the hard work of so many people on our campus and the Leadership Dr. McNayCabinet, we have built a strong foundation of leadership development programming at Sacred Heart Schools that will allow us to continue to empower globally minded, compassionate leaders well into the future.”

Dr. Karen McNay
President, Sacred Heart Schools


Impact at Sacred Heart Model School

A formal leadership program at the elementary and middle school level is unique. JFLI programming begins with young learners in kindergarten and continues through Level Eight.

The Ambassador Program at SHMS is two-fold in its’ leadership development. Level six students train to become ambassador coaches for younger students. They create lesson plans and teaching materials and train students in kindergarten through level 5 to be classroom ambassadors. Once these students are trained, they effectively welcome all guests to their classroom and thoroughly explain all that is occurring in the classroom.

SHMS junior high students are coached and mentored by SHA high school students, giving them role models and outlets for questions involving issues facing this age group. The SHA mentors provide academic coaching after school and lead small group discussions during school on topics ranging from servant leadership, empathy, respectful conversation, active listening, and physical and mental health.

Other programs include interview skills for level seven students to prepare for their community projects and special visits to PYP students from the school dog, Mac.

Proven results at Sacred Heart Model School

In addition to other initiatives, ambassador and mentor programs and the Presenting Yourself workshop occur each year. Even with little programming occurring in 2020, the results over the last five years are impressive:

  • 170 level 6 Ambassador Coaches trained 160 student ambassadors in kindergarten through level 5.
  • 25 SHA students led eight servant-leadership activities and discussions with students in Levels 7 and 8.
  • 60 students have participated in the Presenting Yourself workshop since 2018 where they learned interview skills and communication etiquette. 

Thanks to the Jean Frazier Leadership Institute, even throughout the pandemic, we provided new, formal leadership programming for our students. Our goal is to help every student discover the leader within and give them the courage to share their leadership with the world. We are already seeing this come to fruition.”

~ Lauren Hitron


Learn more about the Jean Frazier Leadership Institute at Sacred Heart Schools HERE.