One Bite At A Time

Last year, a big trend on Twitter was #oneword2018, and I wrote a blog about choosing my word (if you are interested, here is the direct link to that blog. Spoiler alert: I picked RISE). So here we are, a year later, and I find myself reflecting on my 2018 choice and looking to choosing 2019's one word.

I read a book a few years ago called, "I Don't Know How She Does It." The book was delightful. Apparently, there is also a movie too (not so shockingly, if you know me, I have not seen it. I have not seen many movies. It's actually a "thing"--people like to rattle off titles of cult classics then gasp in awe as I continue to shake my head no). In the story, people continuously say to the main character, "I don't know how you do it!" while referencing her working, being a wife, and a mom. At the beginning of the book, this working mom is bringing in treats to her kid's class. She buys pre-made treats, then feeling inferior to stay-at-hom…

Time Well Spent

After a quarter of school, I called down all of our new-to-Kennedy students to my office to have an impromptu conference. How's it going? Was it what you expected? (Well, sort of: the first thing I usually said was, "don't worry you aren't in trouble," since even the best-behaved kid gets nervous when they are called to the principal's office.)

I pulled their grades and we talked about their academics. I asked how things were going socially and if they were able to yet participate in our extra-curriculars or if they planned on it. We talked about dress code and I asked what it was like to attend a religious school that included prayer and mass with their classmates. (While I thought the answer was going to be "awkward" or "weird" it was overwhelmingly "nice" and "I really like it"). I asked what they liked the best, what was a challenge, and how their experience compared to their last school.

As a disclaimer, I support…

State of the School 2018

Kennedy Family-

If you were unable to attend the State of the School Address at the end of August, I wanted to make the information available to you. While much of our curriculum is dictated by either the State of Ohio Learning Standards or the Diocese of Youngstown Office of Catholic Schools, we also have the luxury of creating innovative and effective electives that grow our students in mind and soul. I hope you find the additions intriguing and beneficial in preparing students for life after Kennedy. What follows is my portion of the State of the School address.

Good Evening Kennedy Family-
I am thrilled to be starting my second year at John F. Kennedy Catholic Schools as Upper Campus Principal. To the parents out there, your children are a complete joy. They are the best part of my day, every day. When I left the classroom and the gym as a teacher and coach, I didn’t realize how much I would miss being around students. I am so happy to have the opportunity to be here now.

Tonight I w…


It's a new year!

Many people have asked how year one went and if I am ready for year two to begin. Year one, much like parenting, was challenging but extremely rewarding. Being in education for fourteen years in a few different roles provided me with a lot of background knowledge stepping into this position. However, with every new place and new role, there was a learning curve. Some days the curve was a rolling hill and other days as steep as the face of a cliff. It reminds me so much of parenting--the daily tasks are sometimes overwhelming. (I barely finish cleaning up from dinner and someone wants me to make a snack. Please. Stop.) But once in a while, your kid will stop what they are doing, crawl on your lap, and say "I love you mom" for no reason at all. All those loads of laundry and fighting about what shoes to wear (not the black boots, it's SUMMER) are forgotten. It feels worth it.

Being a principal is a lot like that. There are mundane tasks and paperwork …

Commencement Address 2018

It is with great joy that I address the Class of 2018 today, at your graduation. It has been quite a journey this year, but now it is at an end. And I’m just a mom, standing here, trying to yell last minute directions to you as you walk out the door and get in the car to leave.

My favorite quote is:

“It may be hard for an egg to turn into a bird: it would be a jolly sight harder for it to learn to fly while remaining an egg. We are like eggs at present. And you cannot go on indefinitely being just an ordinary, decent egg. We must be hatched or go bad." Hatch or Go Bad. Those are your choices. You can’t simply stay the same. So I have just a few things to remind you what you’ve learned over the years at Kennedy, to help you hatch.

The first is: show up. It sounds easy, right? It’s not as obvious as you think, which is why I had to invent the “Tardy Party” for excessive late arrivals. Show up to class, show up to work and be there on time. Have the right things with you. You know, li…

Finished. For now.

The end of the year is in sight. While the finish line looks so close, right after that last sign of relief, the work, and the journey, will continue.

Our students are preparing for finals and while scheduling their courses for next year. Their choices are reflective of their performance from this school year. They are working eventually towards earning their diploma, the ultimate finish line of high school.

The seniors are gone. They walked out with clean lockers (well, mostly), finals complete. Next week holds practices for the end of the year celebrations. Done? No....Just beginning in fact. Even though I have a "milestone" high school reunion this year--my own graduation feels like it is a million miles in the past, BEFORE the beginning of my adult life. College, career,'s all just the beginning.

The teachers are counting down too. Unless you have worked in the school, it's hard to know how emotionally draining being an educator is. I even forgot a li…

Test Less. Smile More.

Standardized testing season is upon us. At Kennedy, we are thankfully removed from much of the high-stakes testing requirements imposed by federal and state mandates; however, we are required to give tests to determine points for graduation (which replaced the Ohio Graduation Test, or OGT, for the Class of 2018 and beyond). The Diocese has selected the IOWA assessments- a nationally normed test that allows us to track academic progress in key areas. We also use the ACT college entrance exam. Students receiving state-funded scholarships are required to take the state-mandated tests in grades 3-8 as well.
My history with this high-stakes testing is a bitter one. I was a teacher in a public school, in a tested subject. I had to get all my content taught before the test at the end of April. I had to review, guess what content the state would stress this year, ending with student scores published in the newspaper at the end of it all. I am not a nervous or anxious person by nature....and …