Kolbe Cathedral HS Principal Jo-Anne Jakab Wins Education Leadership Award at CAPP Breakfast
Jo-Anne Jakab is the recipient of Centesimus Annus Pro Pontifice (CAPP) of Fairfield County’s inaugural Education Leadership Award. The award was presented by CAPP at the Fourth Annual Communion Breakfast for Educators at Sacred Heart University on Sunday, March 25.
Jakab has served as principal of Kolbe Cathedral High School in Bridgeport for the past 17 years, empowering young people with knowledge, skills and Catholic values, and sharing the Kolbe motto “Work hard. Be nice.” Throughout her tenure at Kolbe Cathedral, Jakab has been involved in service – to the school, her profession and her community. She took part in the Greater Bridgeport Regional Business Council Program and has served on the High School Engineering Board of Directors, the CIAC Eligibility Board of Review and the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference Board. She earned the recognition of her peers and was elected president of the Southwest Athletic Conference from 2000 to 2001 and president of the Connecticut Association of Catholic Secondary School Principals from 1997 to 1999. From 1999 to 2001, she served on the Board of Directors for the Barnum Museum, and from 1998 to 2005, she was president of Hollow Development Corporation.
Jakab’s commitment to academic opportunity and service has earned her Sacred Heart University’s Bishop Curtis Award (2006), the Calvary Church Community Service Award, Raphola Taylor Community Center Award and the Hollow Development Corporation Service Award. She was honored as a 1994 Connecticut Post Woman of Substance and, in 1999, she was recognized for her 25 years of service to the Diocese of Bridgeport.
In 1998, Jakab partnered with Shepherds Inc. in the launch of a Sponsor/Mentor Program designed to offer disadvantaged inner city Connecticut youth a quality college preparatory education and introduce a positive role model in their lives. Under her guidance, Kolbe Cathedral became the pilot school with five students. Currently, there are 35 students in the program at Kolbe. Shepherds’ Board of Directors recognized her contributions with the inaugural Founder’s Award and the creation of an endowment in her name to benefit future Kolbe students.
With the confidence of the Advisory Board and the Diocese of Bridgeport, Jakab guided Kolbe Cathedral through the acquisition and renovation of an additional building to facilitate growth in enrollment and programs such as the Project Lead the Way Engineering courses. She continues to work to increase scholarship and grant opportunities for the school’s neediest students.
Jakab received her bachelor’s degree in health and physical education from Central Connecticut State University and her master’s degree in administration and supervision from Fairfield University. In 1993, she received a Professional Certificate in Education from Sacred Heart University. She joined the Kolbe community as a teacher from 1974 to 1991 before becoming principal in 1991.
CAPP’s Education Leadership Award is designed to honor an educator who exemplifies excellence in the application of the core principles of Catholic Social Teaching, which are human dignity, solidarity and subsidiarity.
According to Bill Fox, president of the Fairfield County Chapter of CAPP, Jakab’s outstanding educational achievements are manifested in the academic and personal accomplishments of her inner-city high school students.
"Jo-Anne Jakab has achieved remarkable accomplishments that demonstrate how the application of the principles of Catholic Social Teaching leads to outstanding results," he said.
The Communion Breakfast at Sacred Heart featured a special presentation entitled “From Classroom to Community: How Educators Can Build a Better World” by Dr. Maryann Cusimano Love, an associate professor of International Relations in the Politics Department of the Catholic University of America in Washington, DC. The annual breakfast, designed for educators from pre-K through grade 12 and in higher education, offers practical information and networking opportunities for those who attend.
CAPP was founded in 1993 to encourage business people, academics and other professionals to study and promote Catholic social teaching. It is named for Pope John Paul’s encyclical of the same name that marked the 100th anniversary of the landmark papal document on social responsibility, Rerum Novarum. The Diocese of Bridgeport is one of three pioneering dioceses in the United States to establish a chapter.