The intention of Sacred Heart education is to address the whole person. You come as you are and are cared for with great love. The hope is to implant you a sacred love for yourself, to challenge you to be more honest, to lead you along the road of integrity.

- Life at the Sacred Heart

From the moment I arrived on campus I felt I had found a home at Woodlands Academy of the Sacred Heart.  Arriving through the front entrance that hints of a Frank Lloyd Wright Prairie design, I was greeted by the warmth of this community along with the sunlight pouring through the clerestory windows above the student art gallery.  More than simply a school, I understood immediately that Woodlands is a place to thrive.

Woodlands Academy offers a unique and highly appealing high school experience, one where every element is intentionally designed to cultivate the gifts of each student and to help intelligent, interested and energetic young women to grow into the best version of themselves.  Our domestic and international students participating in our Boarding Program join alongside students from the Chicago area to build life-long friendships and create a fun, spirited and nurturing community enriched by their diversity and bonded by their sisterhood.   

Since 1858, Woodlands has blended the rich traditions of a Sacred Heart education with academic innovation to provide young women with an exceptional preparation for their future through excellent academics and intentionally small, personalized classes.  Woodlands Academy is a member of an international network of Sacred Heart Schools with more than 150 schools in over 40 countries.  Our students learn beyond our beautiful 41-acre campus in Lake Forest as they engage in both domestic and international student exchange opportunities as well as our signature Global Odyssey Program where Woodlands faculty develop, and deliver exciting course offerings supported by travel abroad. 

Woodlands Academy is a place where young women can find a learning environment that is demanding, comfortable, joyful, and inspiring, allowing them to thrive throughout their high school years and beyond.  I do hope this website gives you a good sense of the Woodlands experience, but I would really recommend visiting us to see the school in action for yourself.  Come take a tour, engage with our faculty, join our students and classes on a Visit Day.  I would be delighted to meet with you as part of your visit.

I look forward to welcoming you to Woodlands!


Susan Tyree Dempf Ph.D., Head of School


There are two ways of educating: one, to give heart, mind, energy, everything to working for the children - doing things for them. The other, to try to teach the children to work for themselves. And this is the higher of the two. It requires more prudence, more foresight and there is less immediate return. We ought not to do things for the children which they ought to learn to do for themselves. We want to make them independent of us. Janet Erskine Stuart, RSCJ