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Pace School Announces Leadership Transition

Dr. Amira McLemore Wolfson
As long-serving CEO Karen Shepherd prepared to retire, Pace School partnered with Lindauer to launch the search for its next leader.

Pace School today announced a transition in executive leadership. Karen Shepherd, long-serving CEO of Pace, will retire after 27 years of transformative leadership effective July 1, 2024. Following Shepherd’s retirement, Dr. Amira McLemore Wolfson will succeed her as CEO.

Karen Shepherd has been instrumental in shaping Pace School into the critically important institution it is today. Tirelessly championing the mission of Pace, she introduced data-driven decision-making and expanded the School’s comprehensive educational and therapeutic support services that empower students with disabilities to thrive.

During Shepherd’s tenure, Pace became the first school certified in the Sanctuary® model of trauma-informed care, improving the experience of both students and the staff who serve them. Shepherd’s dedication and strategic leadership have created a nurturing environment where students are able to achieve tremendous growth and progress.

Reflecting on Shepherd’s leadership, Board President Matt Helfrich expressed heartfelt gratitude, stating, “Karen’s unwavering dedication and exceptional leadership have been invaluable to Pace School’s success. Her vision and commitment to our students have left an indelible mark on our institution, and we are immensely grateful for her years of service.”

As the result of a rigorous search in partnership with Lindauer, a global search and talent firm serving nonprofits, Pace School is excited to welcome Amira McLemore Wolfson, Ed.D. as its incoming CEO.

With over 15 years in education and administration, including significant roles in strategic planning, financial management, and community outreach, Dr. Wolfson brings a wealth of experience to serving students with disabilities. Over her career, she has demonstrated a profound commitment to student-centered advocacy, equitable practices, and a dedication to improvement. Coming to Pace from Pittsburgh Public Schools, where she served as a district Program Officer for School Management and Compliance, Dr. Wolfson is well-equipped to lead Pace School into its next chapter of growth and excellence.

“We are thrilled to welcome Amira as CEO,” said Helfrich. “Amira’s strategic vision and innovative approach align seamlessly with our mission. Under her leadership, Pace will continue to thrive and fulfill its commitment to providing specialized educational support to students with disabilities.”

Shepherd will work closely with Dr. Wolfson to ensure a smooth transition, reaffirming Pace School’s commitment to excellence and continuity of service.

Dr. Amira McLemore Wolfson was appointed in the spring of 2024. The search was led by Lindauer Vice President and Managing Director Maureen Huminik and Consultant Taylor Beard.

About Pace School

Pace School is a state-licensed private school in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, dedicated to providing specialized educational and therapeutic services to students with disabilities. With a focus on fostering growth, independence, and inclusion, Pace School empowers students to reach their full potential in a supportive and nurturing environment.

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