Mercy names new principal,
Dr. Cynthia Smith-Ough

Dr. Cynthia Smith-Ough

Mercy Academy announced Feb. 25 that Dr. Cynthia Smith-Ough, a principal in San Diego, will serve as its next principal, effective July 12.

She succeeds educator Sarah Peace, who left the school in March 2021 to become a policy advisor for Kentucky’s Department of Education. Karen Alpiger, assistant principal, has filled the role of interim principal this school year.

Smith-Ough most recently served as principal of Curie Elementary and prior to that she was a principal in the South Bay Union School District, both in San Diego. She previously served in the San Diego Unified School District as a teacher.

“I am incredibly excited for the future of Mercy Academy under the leadership of Dr. O,” Alpiger said of Smith-Ough in a news release from the school. “I look forward to the opportunity to work with Dr. O as she transitions into our beloved Mercy community.”

Smith-Ough holds a bachelor of arts degree in liberal studies with a concentration in psychology from California State University — Dominguez Hills, a master’s of education from Pepperdine University and a doctorate of education in organizational leadership from Brandman University (now University of Massachusetts Global).

She speaks Spanish and English, the release said. Her mother is from Ecuador and her father is from Paducah, Ky. Moving to Kentucky will bring her closer to her two daughters and her new granddaughter, who live in Louisville, the release noted.

Smith-Ough said, “Being of Catholic faith and having attended Catholic school from kindergarten through 12th grade, my core values are rooted in trust, compassion, respect, integrity, empathy and love.”

Trust was at the center of her dissertation, according to the press release. The dissertation focused on establishing trust between faculty and leaders of the school.

“Leadership is not about titles,” she said in the release. “We are all leaders and tasked with the privilege of educating and developing the unique talents and gifts of each student.”

She said, “I believe that success is achieved by those who welcome and face the challenge of continuously learning, improving and changing.”

She added, “And, I am passionate about advancing young women’s education and in unlocking their fullest potential.”

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