In 2002, Barbara Ochterski, Ph.D., ’61  became the first lay principal of the Academy.  In the next few years, the Sisters of St. Francis approved a new leadership style for the school, with a Head of School and Team of Directors.  Dr. Ochterski worked under this model, and then in 2008, Jennifer M. Demert, Esq.,  became the second Head of School. The value of community service, always a component of the Academy, was enhanced by establishing the annual Day of Sharing.  This is a time when the entire SHA community, students, faculty, parents, and alumnae join together to volunteer at over 50 sites throughout Western New York. 

The early 2000s was a period of tentative growth as Buffalo became a center of banking with an HSBC business center and the local M&T Bank becoming a Fortune 500 company.  In the years following the height of the national “Great Recession,” Buffalo experienced a resurgence. New Era Cap Company enjoyed sustained economic success and moved back into downtown in the former Federal Reserve building.