After being named the new Oldenburg Academy president, Diane Laake says, “I was delighted. It feels like coming home. Even though I don’t have roots in Oldenburg, my roots are in Catholic education.”
She recalls, “Tim Ziemke (OA board chairperson) called me about two hours before Pope Francis was named the new pope .... (We joked about) pink smoke in Oldenburg and white smoke in Rome.”
The Our Lady of Angels High School, Cincinnati, graduate was drawn to the school because “the Franciscan charism is very important to me, and I knew what an excellent school OA is. It is strong, vibrant, has excellent academics and a strong fine arts curriculum .... I wanted to be a part of that and felt like I had some skills that would be useful.
“I love the part that parents are very committed to and part of the learning process at OA .... (and) I’m looking forward to getting to know the OA community.”
Areas under her supervision will include public relations, marketing and admissions. “My role is to look broadly and ensure that the school has the resources it needs to continue to move forward. Those resources can be of a financial nature. It also has a vision aspect to it, strategic planning, that can be related to facilities, mission and identity.
“Another key element is mission effectiveness with the Sisters. My responsibility is to ensure the charism of St. Francis is integrated into everything that we do here and is fostered and nurtured in an intentional and respectful way.”
“Once a week I have set aside time for the faculty and staff to come and talk to me and discuss what I should focus on. The things people have shared have been so insightful.”
The Cincinnati single woman has done nonprofit volunteer work. She has been a secondary school teacher and administrator and has worked in admissions, marketing and fundraising. “I have a good understanding of what it takes to be successful in these areas.”
In her free time, the 56-year-old enjoys theater and going to museums. “I love to travel, and one of my favorite places is to go to the Caribbean where I can snorkel.”
She points out, “Whenever there is a change, people get a little nervous. This is an opportunity for growth for a bold and brilliant future for OA. Things are in great shape and ready to be even better.”
A ceremony to welcome Laake will be held Sunday, Aug. 4, at 1:30 p.m. in the Sisters of St. Francis Chapel, Oldenburg. A reception will follow in the Sisters’ Parlor. Persons can RSVP at 933-0737.
Diane Raver can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or 812-934-4343, Ext. 114.