Ursuline Academy of Dallas is pleased to announce that Maria Estela Ayala has been named Director of Community and Inclusion, beginning July 1. As she begins her new role, she will join the School Administrative Team and continue as Assistant Director of Admissions.
A new position at Ursuline, the Director of Community and Inclusion will be responsible for leading the school’s community and inclusion work with all constituencies, both on and off campus. Working with the Principal and her leadership team, the Director will oversee all community and inclusion programs, participating in student and faculty recruitment, development, and retention, as well as curriculum development and student life.
“Estela’s heart for our students, her demonstrated commitment to Ursuline, and her growth in practice as a professional are only a few of the outstanding qualities that she brings to this new position,” said Dr. Andrea Shurley, Principal.
“Her warm, welcoming nature and proven rapport with students and teachers will move us forward with grace and dignity to reach the Community & Inclusion goals of our strategic roadmap,” Dr. Shurley added.
Ms. Ayala is an experienced teacher who has also served as Assistant Director of Admissions at Ursuline Academy since August 2019, and previously as Assistant Director of Summer Programs from 2016-2019. She joined the Ursuline faculty as a Spanish teacher in August 2013.
“My objective as Director of Community and Inclusion is to assist in making our campus an environment in which every individual feels seen and loved and thus valued,” she said.
As a member of the Admissions team, she has planned and implemented a variety of engaging activities for prospective students to experience Ursuline. She has played a key role in helping students and parents of diverse backgrounds understand the Admissions process, and in supporting Student Ambassador selection and program development.
In her teaching at Ursuline, Ms. Ayala actively incorporates cultural perspectives to incite critical thinking. She fosters a positive learning environment that is both fun and rigorous, incorporating various learning strategies to accommodate the diverse needs of her students.
Active in Ursuline’s Global Relationships and Cultural Exchange program, Ms. Ayala has also helped coordinate and chaperone student delegation trips to Santiago, Chile in 2015; to Paris France in 2018; to Beijing, China with the Confucius Classroom at The University of Texas at Dallas in 2015; to Salamanca, Spain in 2018; and to Caen, France for language study in 2016 and 2017.
She holds a Bachelors’ Degree in French Language and Culture and has had study abroad experience at La Sorbonne in Paris, France, where she lived and worked for three years. A native Spanish speaker, she attended school in Mexico. She is currently pursuing her graduate degree, Master of Science in Counseling, at Southern Methodist University