Suzanne (Klinger) Johnston, who served as president of Our Lady of Mercy School for Young Women for 14 years before retiring in 2018, died suddenly and unexpectedly April 7, 2020. She was 76 years old.
Mrs. Johnston, a 1961 graduate of Our Lady of Mercy, earned a bachelor’s degree in English from Nazareth College in 1966. She served in academic positions in several school districts in the Rochester area before becoming principal of Wilson Magnet High School in 1985, a position she held for 17 years.
Following her years of service at Wilson and later at West Irondequoit, Mrs. Johnston returned to her alma mater in 2004 to serve as Mercy’s second president. Under her leadership, Mercy substantially expanded the size and caliber of its faculty and student body while simultaneously broadening access and achievement. She championed Mercy’s adoption of college and career readiness standards, increased student diversity and pioneered an international student program. She also oversaw the enhancement of the school’s science labs as well as significant improvements to its athletics and performing arts programs.
During her tenure at Mercy, Mrs. Johnston retained her adjunct teaching position at St. John Fisher College. She retired from Mercy in 2018, but continued to work as an advocate for children’s education.
Mrs. Johnston is survived by her sister, Elaine Morrison of North Palm Beach, Fla; and nieces, nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, there will not be a public funeral Mass and burial. The family is planning a public celebration of Mrs. Johnston’s life in the future.
Memorial donations can be made to the Live Like Jack Foundation, PO Box 31652, Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33420 or Suzanne Klinger Johnston ’61 Memorial Scholarship at Our Lady of Mercy School for Young Women Office of Institutional Advancement, 1437 Blossom Road, Rochester, NY 14610.