On behalf of the Ursuline community, it is my distinct pleasure to extend a warm welcome to Dr. Karen G. Jakuback as she begins her role as Academy President on Tuesday, March 30th. Dr. Jakuback and I have been working closely together since January and will continue to do so until the end of this academic year. Although her official start date is this week, I have been impressed by her availability over the past three months, and her commitment to spend as much time as necessary planning for a successful launch of the new academic year in August. I have sought her input on a regular basis on a wide range of decisions, and there is no doubt in my mind that under her wise, caring leadership, our Academy will ensure its long-term sustainability and prosperity. Dr. Jakuback not only brings deep expertise and experience in school administration, but more importantly, a strong awareness of the value of a faith-based education in the Ursuline tradition. Karen has often referred to her presidency at Ursuline as a “calling,” a true testament of her commitment to Serviam and the servant leadership philosophy. As an alumna who treasures the lessons learned here, I am filled with hope and optimism at the prospect of having Dr. Jakuback leading us to the celebration of our tricentennial and beyond.
Dr. Jakuback holds a doctoral degree in school leadership, management, and policy from Seton Hall University in New Jersey, a Master’s of Education in Educational Administration from Louisiana State University, and a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education from the University of Dallas. She holds lifetime certifications in teaching and school administration. After serving as a classroom teacher, she became the assistant principal and then principal of St. Jude Catholic School in Baton Rouge which she led for nearly twenty years. Upon leaving St. Jude, she completed her doctoral degree and wrote her dissertation on Catholic school identity as it influences teacher retention. She formed a consulting firm and worked with Catholic schools on strategic planning, professional development, budgeting, and enrollment analysis. When she felt a desire to deepen her focus on education in South Louisiana, she was drawn to the work of Teach For America, an organization dedicated to offering quality and equitable education to all children. As the Director of Development for the South Louisiana regional team, she raised funds to support a four-parish region, working with large and small corporations, individual donors, and foundations - a position she left in January to join the Ursuline family.
“I am honored and deeply humbled to be selected to lead Ursuline Academy and follow in the great tradition of Catholic education for girls, begun by the Sisters in 1727 upon their arrival in New Orleans. The motto, Serviam, inspired by St. Angela resonates deeply in me as I begin this role. I look forward with enthusiasm to working collaboratively with you, the Ursuline community, to lead the school strongly into the tricentennial and beyond! I am extremely grateful for the warm welcome and collaboration that Dr. Margarita Curtis has provided to facilitate a smooth transition into this role. I am also grateful for the background and insights provided by Dr. Tracy Bonday, Mrs. Shannon Culotta, and the entire administrative team. It is my great privilege to work with you to serve the students of Ursuline Academy.” – Dr. Karen Jakuback
Please join me in extending a warm welcome to Dr. Jakuback. We look forward to witnessing her many accomplishments and contributions in the years ahead and wish her a most fulfilling, successful tenure.
Dr. Margarita O'Byrne Curtis '69