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Nardin Announces New President

Dear Members of the Nardin Academy Community,

On behalf of the Board of Trustees, I am delighted to announce the Board’s unanimous election and appointment of Sandra Betters as the 26th President of Nardin Academy (Nardin). Sandra will begin her role on July 1, 2021.

Sandra currently serves as principal at Our Lady of Mercy Academy (OLMA), a private college preparatory school for young women in Syosset, NY, a role she has had since 2018. Sandra comes to Nardin with a 20-year career in education, having served in private and public school settings, in co-ed and single-sex environments, and in hands-on teaching roles as well as administrative positions.

Before OLMA, Sandra served as academic dean at Rockland Country Day School and spent nine years at the Albany Academies, teaching grades 5, 6, 11 and 12, in addition to serving as a grade level dean, professional learning community (PLC) leader, student advisor and honors project co-chair. Earlier in her career, Sandra served as the gifted and talented department chair at A.H. Bangert School in New Bern, NC, and in addition to teaching grades 2, 3 and 5, served as summer school lead supervisor in Fairfax County Public Schools in Fairfax, VA.

In addition to her professional experience, Sandra holds a B.S. in Elementary Education from St. Bonaventure University and a M.S.Ed. in Education Leadership and Administration from the College of Saint Rose. She will complete her Ed.D. in Education Policy & Leadership with a core focus on systems thinking, personal leadership, social justice and anti-racism, and policy and research from American University in 2022.

At OLMA, Sandra has been focused on her all-encompassing role as principal of the school, leading numerous initiatives including the development of a comprehensive student wellness program, DEI faculty and related resources programming and technological upgrades to the OLMA campus. She also co-led the operations and strategic planning for OLMA’s 90-acre campus and was instrumental in OLMA's recent $8M capital campaign.  

Throughout our discussions with Sandra, it was clear to the search committee that her leadership style, temperament, personal values and professional background are an optimal match for Nardin. Perhaps the most striking factor in Sandra’s candidacy was her personal and professional alignment with our founders, the Daughters of the Heart of Mary, as well as Nardin’s mission and values, which was evident from the committee’s first interaction with her.

The Board’s approval of her candidacy shows confidence in her ability to be an outstanding leader and steward of our mission to inspire hearts and minds to do amazing things for the world through faith, character, academic excellence and service. We are confident that she will be the leader that Nardin Academy needs as we enter this next phase of sparking and nurturing students’ lifelong journeys to discover, explore and hone their talents and passions, whether it be in the classroom, the science lab, the chapel or on our stage and athletic fields.

I would like to conclude by extending thanks and recognition to some very important individuals. First, our deepest gratitude goes to Marsha Joy Sullivan for her service and dedication to Nardin during her 14 years as President, her four years as Vice President of Institutional Advancement and her six years as a member of Nardin’s Board, including her time as chairwoman. Marsha’s dedication to Nardin, the deep impression she has made on the school and the legacy she will leave is nothing less than stunning. When we think of Nardin and all the growth that the school has experienced in recent years, Marsha’s imprint is omnipresent. From the West Ferry Campus to the arts center and our new wellness and athletics facilities, Marsha has worked tirelessly to position Nardin for success, and her impact through the current strategic plan and the Called to Connect Campaign will be felt by generations of Nardin students to come. Second, our sincere thanks to the search committee for their time, dedication, diligence and passion to the process and the outcome: Bruce Popko (chair), Heather Gresham ’88, Christine McCann ‘87, Miriam Najimy, DHM, Larry Quinn and Jim Swiezy. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, to our faculty, staff and the entire Nardin community for their patience and support during the search process, but also to recognize everything you have done, and continue to do, to educate, support and care for Nardin students. Our campus is one that is not only alive but thriving because of the extraordinary work you do each day.

In closing, please join me in welcoming Sandra and her daughter, Charlotte, to our Nardin community.


Tish Van Dyke ‘82
Chair, Board of Trustees