Behind the Scenes

  One of the highlights of being a junior/senior high school principal is my time with seniors. They are pretty much fully formed adults able to have rational conversations...which is a real unicorn if you spend too much time with junior high kids. (As a parent of a 6th and 7th grader and former 8th grade teacher of 11 years, I say this with a lot of experience and love). Seniors have a jam packed year at Kennedy, filled with a lot of traditions. From the first Mass walking in the Kindergarteners, Homecoming Court, Senior vs Staff Volleyball Game, Senior Retreat, Prom, Baccalaureate, Awards Assembly, and Commencement to name a few. I don't cherish having a front row seat to it all--rather, I love the behind-the-scenes time I get to spend before those big moments.  Today was the Homecoming Court Speeches- each candidate speaks for a few minutes to the 9-12th grade student body, trying to win over votes with their friendly roasts of each other, taking a stroll down memory lane, and s

Sometimes you have to let the baby cry

A few people close to me have had newborns recently. My sister-in-law and brother-in-law had their first baby, my beautiful niece Josephine on Valentine's Day this past February. My high school best friend/college roommate and her husband had a sweet second baby boy in June. As a mother of two tween girls, it's been a minute that I have been in that newborn phase of parenthood. Holding their babies, many forgotten skills come rushing back. I was never great at manuevering the spit rag under those little jello necks but I am pretty adept at getting a burp out. I remembered packing to leave the house with ev.ry.thing in a bag plus a stroller and a carseat and change of clothes...and inevitably not having the one thing you actually ended up needing. When I changed a diaper, it reminded me of cutting off a onesie like I was a trauma nurse when there was a diaper blow out. My living room was filled with a different structure for every 2 month phase- the swing, the bouncer, the exosa

Lessons in Reality: Commencement address 2022

  Good Morning Kennedy Family. It is with joy that I address you, the graduating class of 2022. Many of you know that I am a sucker for reality TV, and if you didn’t know, I suppose this is my confession. I’ve watched all the Bachelor and bachelor adjacent seasons, including being the commissioner of a Bachelor Fantasy League for a few years. I watch the reality dating-on-an-island shows and listen to the corresponding podcasts. I love The Real Housewives of all the cities and I may be the only person who watched and loved the 2-season series premiering in 2004, The Real Gilligan’s Island. (But, seriously, moms out there, if you watched it- I am available to discuss following commencement). Now, while some of you are really questioning how I spend my precious free time, I promise you there are some actual lessons to be learned from reality tv that I will impart on you now as you leave the safe nest of Kennedy and soar into “reality.” #1- First Impressions count. Even if there isn’t a d

Your Action Figure (Commencement Address 2021)

  It is with great joy that I address you, the graduating class of 2021. As you leave the safe nest of John F. Kennedy Catholic School and start the next phase of life, I have an important question for you: What does your action figure come with?  Think about it. You all have had Barbies or action figures and they all come in a signature outfit and a few accessories. If they sold an action figure of you, what would you be wearing and what would you come with? I’ll go first. I am definitely wearing a cardigan and flats, I have a travel coffee mug and a Chromebook. Mr. Kenneally’s has a Kennedy polo and string on the back when you pull it, he yells real loud. Father Lavelle’s has a cheese puff and Mrs. Schlosser’s comes with tardy slips.  So, your High School doll: what are you wearing? The classic polo and khakis, belt optional? The senior hoodie that you haven’t taken off since January? A sports or cheer uniform? This outfit choice for your doll is defining. No one wants to buy the ext

What do you want to be when you grow up?

I had a great conversation with a few students recently and I wanted to share.  We talked about ACT scores and what college I went to and if I always wanted to be a teacher and principal. I said no. I was pre-med.  What made you change? I shadowed a few doctors my freshman year of college. They were cynical. “Too many malpractice lawsuits” “Too many student loans.” “You’ll start your family too late.” I loved science. I became a science teacher.  Do you regret that? I paused. Do I? Is a flippant conversation making me rethink my life choices? Financially, I might have picked something different. But the answer of “what do you want to do when you grow up?” I knew the answer definitely.  I want to change the world.  Ugh. Now what. I’m a 40 year old principal. How can I change the world?  One student at a time.  I started explaining that being an educator is like being a parent. There are a lot of things that are hard work, and you don’t feel like you’re appreciated. But every once in a w

It's the hope that kills you

Every year I make a wall calendar with pictures of my family from the previous year. I was dreading compiling pictures for this year's calendar. Would I even be able to find 12 good pictures from 2020? There were a few months of life "before." A Disney World trip to ring in the new year. Finishing my daughters' basketball season. Pictures from Kennedy- the Catholics in the Community project, Fiddlesticks (the winter production), a District Boys Basketball title, Dueling Pianos. Mid-March. Shutdown. Pictures of baking, playing cards, and building forts. Screenshots of Zoom meetings. Pictures from Kennedy- National Honor Society inauguration, celebrating our student-athletes through signing day, graduation celebrations I poured my heart into. Slowly, some normalcy crept in. Small outdoor picnics with friends and family. Being at the pool and golfing. Home improvement projects (My husband built a deck and I helped, and that was the hottest week of the summer). Back to sc


I have done a pretty good job shielding my own children from my emotions since March. (Let's be real. If you know me, I'm not known for my emotions.) Moving to remote learning after successfully being 5 days in-person since August 17 (due to a county-wide stay at home order) is heartbreaking. Tonight, I sat at our home computer, crying quietly after sending the letters out to families. My nine-year-old daughter came into the room. She asked me why I was crying. I said I didn't want to have to do remote learning again. She said me too. I said it's really hard. She said I know. I said mommy worries about you and your sister when we can't be in school. But I also worry about my 300 other kids. I worry how they are doing. I worry they are staying safe. I worry this is too hard. She gave me a hug. She is ok sharing her mom with 300 kids.  Emotional or not, this melted me. Tonight, I worry for all of us. Tomorrow, I work for all of us; and I promise that work doesn't