NEW ORLEANS – The Board of Trustees of Ursuline Academy of New Orleans announced that Dr. Karen G. Jakuback began her tenure as Ursuline Academy of New Orleans President June 1, 2021, following interim President Dr. Margarita O’Byrne Curtis ’69. Dr. Jakuback is a veteran Catholic school educator from Baton Rouge with over 2 decades of Catholic school leadership experience.
In March, the Ursuline Board of Trustees announced Dr. Karen Jakuback would be the school’s new president after a national search, an extensive interview process, and feedback from a broad range of Ursuline community stakeholders, including faculty, students, staff, and alumnae. The search committee and the Board of Trustees noted that they found Dr. Karen Jakuback to be the kind of visionary leader they were seeking.
“Dr. Jakuback is a recognized leader in education and nonprofit management with a passion for Catholic education and its power to develop leaders who will impact the world for good. She brings a wealth of experience, energy, and commitment to collaboration to this position. She has received awards and accolades for her commitment to Catholic service and mission, and we’re proud to have her lead our school.”
“Ursuline Academy holds a special place in the history of New Orleans, and it continues to be a beacon of opportunity for girls,” said Dr. Jakuback. “I am deeply grateful for this opportunity to serve, and the trust and confidence of the Board of Trustees. Our motto, Serviam, inspired by our foundress St. Angela, is a call to Catholic educators and resonates deeply in me. Our vision of a school community where girls can grow in faith and build lives of service and leadership is highly regarded in Louisiana. It has been the work of many generations and I am honored to continue the Ursuline sisters’ call to serve.
Dr. Jakuback brings more than two decades of high-level experience across the education and nonprofit sectors to the role. She most recently served on the leadership team at Teach For America, South Louisiana, as the Director of Development for the region. She founded a consulting firm partnering with Catholic schools and parishes on strategic planning, professional development, budgeting, and enrollment analysis. After beginning her career as a classroom teacher, she served as principal of St. Jude Catholic School in Baton Rouge for nearly twenty years, received the Diocese of Baton Rouge Distinguished Principal Award, and earned the NCCJ Brotherhood Sisterhood citation for her role in building community. She joins Ursuline at a pivotal time in the school’s nearly 300-year history, touched by the ongoing impact of the coronavirus pandemic, the launch of Lily House the new nursery program on Ursuline’s historic campus, and a strategic focus on academic excellence and innovation.
She holds a Doctor of Education degree in Educational Leadership, Management, and Policy from Seton Hall University in New Jersey, a Master 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 and religious education.
Dr. Jakuback is married to John Jakuback, a local attorney, and is the proud mother of three children, all educated in Catholic schools.