Leadership and Governance

Head of School

After attending Francis Parker School (then St. Francis), Alexandra earned a BA in Biological Anthropology from Harvard University and then worked for a law firm in San Francisco and Japan. In 1990, she returned to graduate school, receiving an MBA in marketing and finance from the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business. Upon graduating from business school, she spent four years in Client Service at the Leo Burnett Company in Chicago. In 1996, she returned to Louisville with her family and joined Doe-Anderson Inc. as a VP/Account Supervisor. She remained at Doe-Anderson, managing the agency’s largest account, until moving to Francis Parker. A 1984 graduate of Francis Parker, and a K-12 lifer herself, Alexandra began her second tenure with the school at the High School in 2001 as Associate Head of School and became the Head of School in 2003, succeeding founding Head of School Tom Pike. When St. Francis School and St. Francis High School merged in July 2012, Alexandra became the Head of the new St. Francis School. She then led the school through a name exploration and name change to reduce confusion about the School’s Mission and purpose, with the school being name Francis Parker School of Louisville on July 1, 2022, in order to signify its Progressive mission to all by being named for the Progressive philosophy founded by Francis Parker, while honoring the School’s history and keeping “Francis” in the name.  Alexandra is married to husband Andy, and their two sons Gray and Andrew are both St. Francis alumni having attended since Kindergarten.  

Alexandra is also very involved in the community with education being her main focus. She is currently on the Executive Board of the Harvard Club of Louisville, and Chair of the Harvard Schools Committee, which pairs applicants to Harvard College with alumni interviewers; and Treasurer of the Kentucky Non-Public Schools Commission. Previously, Alexandra served for eight years on the Independent Schools Association of the Central States (ISACS) Board, including as the Secretary and Treasurer.  

Today, with her guidance and vision, Francis Parker is strong and growing. Francis Parker continues to be one of the most diverse Independent Schools in the country with over 32% of students being BIPOC or foreign-born, and significant commitment to making the School accessible to all students regardless of financial means.  As such, the School dedicates over 30% of its budget to funding financial aid and scholarships.  

Upon the merger of the two former schools, the School embarked on a capital campaign in 2012, “Building an Abundant Future”, which included an endowment component, as well as several capital projects that were outlined in our Master Campus Plan.  As of 2022, the School has raised over $22 million dollars, more than quadrupled its endowment, and accomplished much of the Master Campus Plan that was created in 2012. To date, the following projects are complete: purchasing the adjacent garage and creating an interim parking lot for the Downtown Campus, completed in the summer of 2013; renovating and reconstructing a beautiful, modern Gymnasium for the Goshen Campus, completed in 2014; renovating spaces on the Goshen Campus to move and house our Preschool there, completed in 2014; purchasing 17,000 additional square feet of our high school building, and renovating half of it to create a new entrance, expanded student spaces, administrative offices, renovated science labs and a new MakerSpace called the Workshop, completed in 2016; renovating the Main Amp, Theater, & Lobby on the Goshen Campus to double the size of our theater and create a state-of-the art space that both campuses can use for productions in 2019; renovating the second half of the space purchased downtown in 2016 and creating the Wyvern Indoor Turf and Training Center. In addition, the School purchased the former Gray’s Bookstore building behind McDonald’s to allow for parking and/or future expansion of the high school.  The final major capital project of the current campaign is currently being planned:  the HS Athletic and Wellness Center that will be located on the current parking lot.  We look forward to the contribution this stunning building will make to this crucial area for downtown development, as well as the opportunity it will provide to serve as a community resource as the school seeks additional partners in this endeavor.  

Leadership Team

Greg Borders

Associate Head of School - Finance and Operations

B.S. University of Louisville

Zak Cohen

Middle School Director/MS Baseball

M.Ed. Lesley University; B.A. Hamilton College

Suzanne Gorman

Associate Head of School - Downtown Campus

M.A. University of Michigan; B.A. Loyola University Chicago

Jennifer Griffith

Lower School Director/Lower School Math

M.Ed., B.A. Washington University in St. Louis

Carolyn Gilles Hannan ’99

Director of Marketing and Communications

B.S. The New School

Bethany Heckel

Director of Advancement

B.A. University of Kentucky

Renee Hennessy

Preschool Director

B.S. University of Louisville

Shelly Jones

Associate Head of School - Goshen Campus, Teaching and Learning/Lower School Math

M.A. Bread Loaf School of English, Middlebury College; B.A. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Ralph Marshall

Dean of Faculty - High School/High School History/Varsity Soccer

Ph.D., M.A. Temple University; B.A. Dickinson College

Francis Parker Board of Trustees

Francis Parker, like all Independent Schools, is governed by a self-sustaining, volunteer Board of Trustees. The Board is made up of current parents, alumni, alumni parents, and friends of the School. In addition, the Board includes several staff members as ex-officio representatives, several Emeritus Trustees, as well as an ex-officio General Counsel. The Board has a single employee, the Head of School, who manages the day-to-day running of the School; whereas the Board focuses on the future. The Board’s role is to set the Mission and Vision for the School, to conduct long-range strategic planning, and to plan for the school’s future in terms of ensuring that adequate resources exist to meet the Mission, Vision, and strategic plan. The Board operates with several committees including the Executive Committee, the Governance Committee, the Finance Committee, the Development Committee, the Marketing and Relationship Building Committee, and the Facilities Committee, all of which meet approximately monthly. The full Board meets five times per year, plus a retreat and an opening social gathering/meeting.

James Melhuish, CP, Chair
Stewart Lussky, CP, Co-Vice Chair
John Shumate G’96, ’00, Co-Vice Chair
Wes Johnson, AP, Treasurer
Deron Simmons, G’02, ’06, Secretary
Ginny Frazier, CP, Past Chair
Kelley Cox, CP/AP, Executive Committee
Kelly Wright Henrion ’92, Executive Committee
Laura Linkous, AP, Executive Committee
Deena Neimat, CP, Executive Committee
Rob Penta ’99, Executive Committee
Ken Edwards, AP
Marshall Eldred ’83, CP
Rafa Garibay, F
Jerron Jones, CP
Kapauner Lewis, AP
Heather McHold, AP
Lee Middendorf, CP/AP
Wake Norris, CP
Vicki Owczarzak, CP
Inna Purala Chetty, CP
Elliott Rounsavall G’88, CP
Amanda Schriber, CP/AP
Sara Shaughnessy G’96, ’00, CP
Jason Snyder, AP
Martha Walker, CP
LaToya Whitlock, F

Emeritus: Scott Gregor, AP;, Ben Holt, AP; Ellen Rosenbloom, AP

Ex-Officio: Renee Hennessy, AP, Preschool Representative; Jennifer Griffith, CP, Lower School Faculty Representative; Zak Cohen, Middle School Faculty Representative; Ralph Marshall, AP, High School Faculty Representative; Alexandra Thurstone G’80, ’84, AP, Head of School

Staff Attendees: Greg Borders, AP, Associate Head of School – Finance and Operations; Bethany Heckel, Director of Advancement; Suzanne Gorman, CP/AP, Associate Head of School – Downtown Campus; Shelly Jones, CP, Associate Head of School – Goshen Campus, Teaching and Learning; Carolyn Hannan ’99, CP, Marketing and Communications Director

Members of the Board serve on a volunteer basis, no compensation is received.
(CP – Current Parent, AP – Alumni Parent, F – Friend)