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A Cecilia native is taking leadership of the oldest Catholic school in the United States.
Karen Thomas McNay, a 1982 graduate of West Hardin High School, has been named president of Ursuline Academy in New Orleans. Founded in 1727, Ursuline is also the oldest all-girls school in the United States.
McNay is principal at Christ the King Elementary School in Lexington, and has been at the school for eight years.
She was contacted by a representative for the academy and asked about her interest in the job, she said. She was attracted by the school’s mission to champion social justice and its history for caring for women and the poor.
She also was interested in the opportunity to work with students from age 2 through their school graduation. This will give her a chance to be “a true part of a young woman’s life,” McNay said.
The position is similar to that of a president of a small college. McNay will oversee fundraising, budgets and long-term planning, as well as 100 faculty members and 16 administrators. There are about 800 students at the school.
It’s a significant change from her position as principal.
“I welcome that growth,” McNay said. “I think I’m ready for that.”
McNay’s 15-year education career began when she starting working in her children’s Catholic school and enjoyed it enough to become a teacher.
McNay’s official start date is July 1. Once she joins the academy, she will begin updating the long-range plan for the school. She also will bring some plans from Christ the King with her, such as the one-to-one technology program which gives each student a tablet or laptop.
She also will be part of opening a Health and Wellness Center and a new softball field at the academy.
“It’s a great opportunity for me,” she said.
Kelly Cantrall can be reached at (270) 505-1747 or email@example.com.