Meet Ursuline Academy’s Interim President, Dr. Margarita O’Bryne Curtis


Dr. Margarita O’Bryne Curtis, Interim President  

When Ursuline Academy alumna, Dr. Margarita O’Byrne Curtis, began her position as the 2020-2021 Interim President, it felt much like her first day as an Ursuline student. “When I arrived at Ursuline as a student, I was immediately struck by its welcoming, supportive atmosphere, the emphasis on shared experiences and traditions, and the commitment to transcend the self for the common good. The school often rallied together with a sense of shared purpose and unparalleled pride in our history and our mission,” Curtis said. 

That same sense of shared purpose and unparalleled pride in the Academy mission carries forth in Dr. Curtis’ recent efforts at the school. As the first all-girls’ Catholic school in the nation, the Ursuline Sisters were the very first to provide classes for female African American slaves, free women of color, and Native Americans. They also provided the first center of social welfare in the Mississippi Valley and the first boarding school in Louisiana. “The Ursuline ability to be the first, identify challenges and to seek ways of addressing them with creativity and courage, to show our contemporaries how to ‘lead new lives’, is a distinctive strain of our DNA, and one we must leverage in the face of our current crisis,” Curtis said. 

With that, the Ursuline Academy Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging Task Force was formed. Comprised of various constituencies – trustees, alumnae, faculty, staff, students, parents and friends, the task force holds the specific charge of developing a comprehensive strategic plan to systematically assess all areas of school life, as well as governance and operational structures, and to determine how Ursuline can enhance its cultural competency skills, and create an ever more inclusive, welcoming community.  

Dr. Curtis states, “Ursuline Academy, from its inception, has always aspired to be a community that values and affirms the differences and individuality of each and every girl. We believe that diverse perspectives fuel creative and innovative thinking and problem solving, build empathy, enrich interactions, and provide varied skills and experiences from which the entire school benefits. As a school, we consider cultural competency essential to the pursuit of excellence and success, both on campus and beyond.” 



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