Nazareth installs LePera as first president

Denise LePera has served as the president since July, and the inauguration was hosted last Friday.

Leader of the pack: Pictured are (from left) Josephine Nguyen, Emily Higgins, Rina Damico, Sister Rita Fanning, Denise LePera, Sister Therese McFadden, Zoe Carbino, Sarah Boyle and Caitlin Grabowski. PHOTO: NAZARETH ACADEMY HIGH SCHOOL

Nazareth Academy High School last Friday hosted an inauguration liturgy for its first president and lay leader, Denise LePera.

LePera, who had been president of Archbishop Ryan for three years, assumed the same position at Nazareth in July, several months after the Nazareth Board of Trustees approved the implementation of the president-principal organizational model.

As president, LePera oversees the operational side of Nazareth: marketing, development, advancement, admissions and finance. Sister Rita Fanning, the principal, will continue to lead all aspects of academics, student life and athletics at Nazareth, which has an enrollment of 362 girls.

The Mass was celebrated by the Rev. Paul Kennedy, pastor at St. Katherine of Siena.

In her remarks, LePera said she was happy to join the “Nazareth sisterhood,” adding that she is “humbled by this great honor.” LePera considers her new job a blessing and a privilege and has appreciated the warm reception she’s been given. It’s a special calling, she said, to be the school’s first president.

Leader of the pack: Nazareth Academy High School president Denise LePera speaks during an inauguration liturgy last week. PHOTO: NAZARETH ACADEMY HIGH SCHOOL

“I love this school a million,” she said.

Before her stint at Ryan, which is still in need of a president, LePera was executive director of institutional advancement at Roman Catholic for six years. She spent 12 years in fundraising roles with Neumann University, her alma mater. She handled donor relations for the Philadelphia office of the American Cancer Society for four years.

LePera holds a master’s degree in strategic leadership and a bachelor’s in liberal studies, both from Neumann. ••