June 16, 2021 – The Jesuits USA Central and Southern (UCS) Province will soon welcome Barry Neuburger as associate provincial assistant for secondary and presecondary education (PASE). He replaces Ken Luecke, who is retiring after two years of service to the province. Neuburger will work alongside Ron Rebore, provincial assistant for secondary and presecondary education, to foster relationships with the province schools.
While new to this role, Neuburger is not new to the province, and he brings significant experience in Jesuit education. He retired in June as principal of Jesuit High School in Tampa, after a decade-long tenure in which the school enhanced its already strong reputation. Prior to that, he was the founding principal of a regional Catholic high school, Our Lady of the Hills, in Kerrville, Texas, and served as principal at Jesuit High School in New Orleans.
Early in his career, Neuburger was a high school science teacher. In total, he has more than 40 years of experience as an educator. He is ready for the new challenge.
“Every experience and every job in my life has taught me valuable lessons about what it means to be an educator,” he said. “I grew up Catholic, went to Catholic schools, and have spent much of my life working in and leading them. Now, I’m ready for this next assignment.”
Neuburger is also known to many of his new colleagues.
“Over the last decade I have gotten to know some of the province staff, and I know that they are people of the highest integrity who are truly committed to their work and to advancing the mission,” he said. “It will be an honor to work alongside them, and I look forward to rekindling old relationships as well as developing new ones along the way.”
Among Neuburger’s many responsibilities will be assisting with school visits, sponsorship reviews and province programming. He especially looks forward to school visits because he recalls the impact a visitation from the then provincial assistant for secondary education and formation (in those days, there was no position with the title of associate PASE) had on him when he was starting out as a Jesuit educational administrator in the 1990s.
“When I was in my first year as principal at Jesuit New Orleans, the provincial assistant for secondary education and formation visited my school, and that visit helped me tremendously,” he recalled. “He was very honest and pointed out ways in which I could improve, but, in doing so, gave me a much better perspective on how to do my job. I look forward to helping today’s educators in a similar way.”
Neuburger says he can only hope to do as good of a job as his predecessor.
“Ken is a special person who touches everyone he meets,” he said. “He is a very talented individual, but he is also a fantastic human being.”
Luecke is most grateful for his time in the role. He considers highlights of his tenure to be helping ensure a seamless transition between Provincials Ronald A. Mercier, SJ, and Thomas P. Greene, SJ, and providing a steady helping hand for the province schools during the chaos of COVID-19.
“To be able to be a stabilizing force and help out in both of those transition times was a real blessing,” Luecke said.
He considers the opportunity to oversee the Alum Service Corps program another grace of the role.
“To be able to interview those young men and women, offer them assignments for the year, and watch their growth throughout was very special,” he said.
He is confident that his successor will do a tremendous job.
“Barry has great enthusiasm for, and tremendous experience in, Jesuit education,” he said. “I have no doubt he will serve the province extremely well in this role.”