Sacred Heart Academy opens each academic year with an opening Liturgy where students, faculty, and staff join in prayer for the Sacred Heart Academy community. Following this special service the Mission Committee takes the time to present the Justice and Peace Award, presented annually to one who has made a difference by her work in an area of justice. This year’s recipient is Dr. Michelle Paige ’90, Chief Program and Equity Officer for University Settlement.
Dr. Paige is an exceptional woman who has achieved remarkable success while devoting her professional and personal talents to the betterment of others. She is the Chief Program and Equity Officer for University Settlement, a non-profit agency focused on helping those in need to “build on their strengths as they achieve healthy, stable, and remarkable lives . . . while fighting poverty and systemic inequality.”
The essence of a leader who helps others to feel fully alive, she chose to dedicate her passion and career to education and to making others feel fully alive - what Sacred Heart Academy encourages its students to do in whatever career path they may choose and along whatever paths life may lead them.
“Figure out where you want to be and stay involved,” Dr. Paige told the student body of their own time at SHA. “And then appreciate, respect and support people who have chosen a different path.”
Dr. Paige happily credits Sacred Heart Academy with fostering her commitment to meaningful engagement. Determined to supplement her academic achievements with involvement in co-curricular activities, she participated in sports, clubs and events. She engaged in DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion) work at SHA even as a student, creating posters to honor Black History Month and helping to organize assemblies to heighten and deepen social consciousness throughout the month of February, and currently advises SHA as a member of its DEI Task Force.
Dr. Paige encouraged the students to learn from different individuals' experiences to be able to make a difference.“Read from different perspectives, different genres to get a cross section of experiences. See color, see religion, see identity, see perspective. When you see that, you truly see someone and you create a sense of awareness and equity.”
Sacred Heart is an opportunity that others don’t have, Dr. Paige said. “Capitalize on it; utilize it. You will have the opportunity to pay this full circle. That is an amazing feeling.”
About Dr. Michelle Paige ’90
Dr. Paige attended St. Agnes Elementary school before beginning her career at Sacred Heart Academy. She went on to earn her undergraduate and graduate degrees from St. John’s University Queens College, respectively, before receiving her Doctor of Education degree in executive leadership from St. John Fisher College.
She holds professional certificates in Columbia University’s Senior Leadership Program for Non-Profit Professionals. Most recently Dr. Paige enrolled in Howard University's Coaching Diversity Institute and will soon receive certification as a Diversity Coach.
Dr. Paige remains active in various sectors of education and public engagement. She is proud to serve as an Adjunct Professor at Lehman College, is an active member of the Day Care Council of New York’s Advisory Committee and as well as a member of the organization, Black Agency Executives.