Did you always want to be a teacher?
My mother was a grade school teacher, and I did feel called to teach as a high schooler. I strongly considered the priesthood during my early years of college, as well. I started studying German in high school and initially began my career as a German teacher.
What was it like when you had that first teaching job?
My first year of teaching was awesome. My former high school German teacher was named the principal of the high school I graduated from and was vacating his position as a German teacher. I was able to take over for him and began my teaching career under his guidance and leadership. I had a unique little classroom just off the school library, and I can remember that I wore a stopwatch around my neck to ensure I utilized every minute of the class period from the first to last bell. I was 21 years old and I taught every level of German, which meant I was teaching 18-year-old seniors that year. I have very fond memories of that year of teaching.
You’ve been at Marquette University High School and Chesterton. They’re both Catholic high schools, but could you maybe compare and contrast the two?
Both of the schools are rich in the content they offer, yet in very different ways. Both schools focus on critical thinking and rigorous intellectual curiosity but the methods are very different. At Marquette High School, there is a set amount of required courses that one must take to graduate, leaving a significant portion of a student’s schedule to be filled out according to their personal preferences and perhaps career aspirations. At Chesterton every year, a student’s history, literature, philosophy and theology courses are braided together within a historical time period, and science and math courses are places where faith and reason meet. A student’s experience of fine arts at Chesterton is equally emphasized. Every year, a student is engaged in multiple fine arts courses, so that each student learns to speak in public, draw, paint, sing and act on stage. Comparatively, a semester of fine arts at MUHS is required to graduate.
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
Too hard to choose. Here are two: Don’t ever cut corners, and to paraphrase the great St. Augustine: Love our Lord, then do what you will.
What’s the best piece of advice you give/like to give?
Nothing will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus. Thanks, St. Paul.
Do you have a devotion to any saints/who is your personal favorite saint?
I have taken St. Robert Southwell as my patron. He was an English Jesuit, poet and martyr of the Counter Reformation. I’ve also had a very special devotion to our Most Admirable Mother since college.
What is your dream vacation?
In nature, absolutely anywhere in nature with my family.
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
I enjoy birdwatching, beekeeping, being with people and making my children laugh.
If you could know the answer to any question, what would it be?
What was our Lord like as a teenager?
What do you hope retirement is like for you?
I hope to drive the Saz’s Brewers home game bus to and from the stadium.
What is your superpower/hidden talent?
Languages, bird calls, whistling.
What is one thing people would be surprised to find out about you?
I am a lover of baseball stats and facts, and thanks to a student project from my time at Marquette High, I got into following sumo wrestling.
What would you title your biography?
“From Birds to Bees: True Stories of Hives, Homilies and High School Holiness.”