Sheila Haggas announced Friday that she will retire as Duchesne Academy's head of school in early June 2015.
Haggas, 64, has led the school near 36th and Burt Streets for nearly 20 years. When she was named head of school in 1995, she became the first leader who was not a nun.
At the time, Haggas said that she felt her position gave her an opportunity to show that lay people could shoulder more responsibilities in religious institutions. Duchesne is part of the Sacred Heart network of schools in the United States and Canada.
The all-girls school in 1995 enrolled about 170 students. Today, the number tops 300. During Haggas' tenure, the school, which turned 125 in 2006, underwent two major addition and renovation projects. The first, finished in 2003, added 17,000 square feet, including nine classrooms. Another that wrapped up recently added a new auditorium entrance and lobby. The school also has delved deeply into technology.
Haggas said in a letter to parents that while she remained deeply committed to the school's mission, “it is time for me to step down from the responsibilities and privilege of being head of school.”
Before taking the post, Haggas had served as vice president in charge of admissions and financial aid at the College of St. Mary. She also had been a special education teacher at Boys Town and in the Omaha school district.
In her letter, Haggas said the school's board would launch a nationwide search for her successor in the coming months.