Meet Our Head of School

Welcome to the Sacred Heart - to our wooded oasis in the heart of Tokyo where students have classrooms, labs, a wonderful gymnasium, and spacious play space, tennis courts, a turf field and access to much more through our on-campus Sacred Heart community.

My first visit to our campus was in 1986. I was smitten with a joyful and diverse student body and very kind teachers and staff. A seed was planted, and now I have the privilege to lead our school as we redefine high quality learning and teaching, international mindedness, and mental health and well-being. At our school, these drivers of the Council of International Schools and the Western Association of Schools and Colleges are framed in the context of our Sacred Heart Goals and Criteria. 

Few schools are so deeply rooted in a time-tested mission that continues after 100 years to be ahead of its time. Consistent with our sister schools across 40 countries, our mission is to educate with love. When our alumni return (and they often do!), it is this essence of their experience that draws them back. Our students are extremely well prepared academically, and learn to work hard, have fun, build community, and to give themselves to others. When these Goals are fueled with love, all belong and are smitten with something special that lasts throughout their lives. 

Personally, I know this because I am a Sacred Heart graduate of our sister school in Omaha, Nebraska, USA. In Tokyo, the ISSH mission is my life's purpose. I moved to Tokyo in 2023 from the Sacred Heart School of Halifax, (Nova Scotia) where I was the Head of School for 10 years. This experience, along with being a teacher and administrator at Sacred Heart schools from  New York to Chicago and San Francisco all contribute to the way we are living into our strategic vision for the International School of the Sacred Heart. 

I have a Master of Arts degree in Educational Administration from the University of San Francisco. My Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and secondary teaching certification were both earned at St. Mary’s College, Notre Dame where I cheered on the Notre Dame football team. I am a sports enthusiast, and while I ran the NYC Marathon in 1991, I now treasure long walks in Tokyo. Golf remains a passion. I'm loyal to the Golden State Warriors and now bleed orange for the SF Giants and our Tokyo Giants. 

Thank you for your interest in the International School of the Sacred Heart. While you will learn a great deal from our website, perhaps you, too, will be smitten with the joy and loving kindness that pervades our campus.  

Sr. Anne Wachter, RSCJ
Head of School

High Quality Learning and Teaching
Steeped in 115 years of international education in Tokyo, ISSH students have the finest of academic programs led by outstanding educators from 20+ countries who embrace Sacred Heart’s clear and enduring mission. ISSH graduates of ‘24 proudly upheld the tradition of outperforming their counterparts across the globe as their AP Exams results earned them internationally respected and accepted university credits before even beginning their university careers. They were accepted to Harvard, Cambridge, Yale, McGill, Notre Dame, Keio, University of Tokyo and U. of Toronto, and so many more! The 4 shifts protocol is the focus of our definition of high quality learning and teaching so we frame our work around deep learning and thinking, student agency and personalization, innovation and authentic work.

Accreditation and Vision
The International School of the Sacred Heart is accredited by both the Western Association of Schools and Colleges and the prestigious Council of International Schools (CIS). Based in the Netherlands, CIS is the trusted gold-standard for international schools. 

An International School within a Global Family
The heart and soul of ISSH is shared with and similarly articulated by five other Sacred Heart schools in Japan and 100+ schools across the globe. At ISSH, 20% of the faculty and staff are alums of ISSH or another Sacred Heart school. Not only a testament to the strength of the program, this provides a solid foundation for change. “Courage and Confidence” have been the hallmarks of Sacred Heart women since the Society of the Sacred Heart was founded in France in 1800. After expanding to the United States in 1818 the Society/Schools spread rapidly across the world. In 1908 the first school was opened in Asia - it is our school! Today, our international mindedness focuses on intercultural learning, communication and digital citizenship, and global citizenship. 

Relational Leadership - Focus on Well-being
The founder of the Society of the Sacred Heart, Madeleine Sophie Barat (canonized in 1925) had a relational leadership style that kept the global family of schools unified even as each embraced its local culture and reality. During her lifetime (1779-1865) and under her leadership, over 100 schools were founded on four continents. Trusting relationships were the "intranet" of her day; they provided courage in the face of great risks. Out of love for our students, we continue to take risks and go many extra miles. Child protection and well-being practices are embedded in our curricular and extracurricular programs. Students are valued and loved. They gain knowledge and skills to empower resilience, self-acceptance, and empathy so that they can realize their unique abilities, cope with the normal stresses of life, work productively and fruitfully, contribute to the community, and realize they came into the world loved and are to be loving.