JOPLIN, MO ­– Joplin Area Catholic Schools welcomes Dr. Emily Yoakam as its new director of schools, effective July 1, 2023.

“I am honored to serve the Joplin Area Catholic Schools as its new Director of Schools,” said Yoakam. “I’m excited for the opportunity to support our principals as we work together with our families, parishes, the diocese and our greater Joplin community to further the mission entrusted to us by the Sisters of Mercy – building the legacy of Catholic education, one Warrior at a time.”

She currently serves as principal of St. Peter’s Middle School and McAuley Catholic High School. A role that she began in July 2019. “With her experience in the building-level she has an awareness of needs within our system as well as ideas to continue to promote Catholic education in southwest Missouri,” said Fr. Joe Weidenbenner, pastor at St. Mary Catholic Church.

As principal, she navigated learning for students during the COVID-19 pandemic, has recruited and retained high-level educators and elevated the academic standards for both schools.

“Her experience in education including being educated in Catholic schools, her faith and her enthusiasm for the future are strong attributes to her hiring,” said Fr. Brian J. Straus, parish administrator at St. Peter the Apostle Catholic Church.

Yoakam earned her Doctorate in Educational Leadership from Baker University in 2019. In addition, she holds a Master of Science in Reading and Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education and from Pittsburg State University.

About Joplin Area Catholic Schools

Founded in 1885 by the Sisters of Mercy of St. Catherine McAuley, the Joplin Area Catholic Schools serves the greater Joplin community to educate Catholic and non-Catholic children from Early Learners (2-year-olds) through grade 12 at St. Mary’s Preschool and Elementary School, St. Peter’s Middle School and McAuley Catholic High School. Joplin Area Catholic Schools provide an outstanding academic and Christ-centered educational foundation that forms our present students of today into remarkable servant-leaders of tomorrow. For more information or to inquire about enrollment, visit www.JACSS.org.