businessTop 100

First-time Top 100 winner Ursuline Academy aces test of adaptability

The teachers at this all-girls school say they felt appreciated and supported by the administration during the pandemic.


SPECIAL AWARD: Best Training

Ursuline Academy of Dallas made its Top 100 debut in high style this year, capturing the No. 3 spot among our midsize companies.

The all-girls secondary school, the oldest continuously operating school in Dallas, did so in a year when education was undermined by stress and uncertainty.

Instead of letting hard times take hold, Ursuline president Gretchen Kane said, the school launched the most ambitious comprehensive campaign in its 147-year history to shape the future of its education for young women in Dallas.

“It is a wonderful testament to the strength of our incredible school community — employees, families, alumnae and friends — who support our mission, even in the most difficult of times, with gratitude and grace,” Kane said. “We learned how a loving, caring community acts in a crisis.”

Employees have been extraordinary role models for students, she said, as they reinvented and reimagined nearly every aspect of the teaching and learning process.

Kane says she hopes that the worst of the pandemic is in the rearview mirror and that the school will be able to get back to the traditions and activities that make Ursuline Ursuline.

Employees gave Ursuline the highest marks for the statement: This company operates by strong values.

The school earned our special award for best training. When asked, “What formal training have you found most valuable?” employees most often cited Fierce Conversations, which teaches the art and importance of difficult dialogue.

There’s a dandy benefit for full-time employees. Their high school age kids can attend Ursuline or its brother school, Jesuit College Preparatory School of Dallas, at a 50% discount.

The teachers told us they felt appreciated and fully supported by the administration during the pandemic, when the school had to adapt to online learning, then hybrid classes and now back to in-person learning.

“I love that my administration was willing to make changes along the way, actually responding to student, parent and faculty feedback,” one said. “And I love that as things slowly begin to return to normal, my administration is focused on helping teachers and students get back to some of the rigorous routines that we had relaxed a bit during COVID.”

From top left: Science teachers Travis Gilbreath, Jo King, Rebecca DeLizza and Kirsten...
From top left: Science teachers Travis Gilbreath, Jo King, Rebecca DeLizza and Kirsten Lindsay-Hudak speak about the new school year during a teacher workshop for Technology Enhanced Active Learning at Ursuline Academy of Dallas on Aug. 13. TKing and DeLizza are first-year teachers at Ursuline.(Ben Torres / Special Contributor)
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