Lives: Rodgers Forge
Family: Spouse, Trey; children, Margot, 9, and Emily, 6
Occupation: Director of Mission and Ministry, Mercy High School; also Director of the Egan School of Irish Dance.
Tell us about your career.
This is my 21st year teaching religion at Mercy and my 10th year serving in a ministry position. I have always found the subject of religion to be interesting, so getting degrees in it and then teaching it myself was a natural progression. I was very active in my parish and youth ministry programs in the Archdiocese of Baltimore as a teenager. Church life has been central to my development. Teaching and ministering at Mercy, my alma mater, has been a dream job. It was like coming home when I began teaching there in 1995. I left Mercy for a few years in the early 2000s to pursue a goal of working as a college campus minister.
While I enjoyed my experiences at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, it turned out that my real passion was as a high school teacher. I had it right the first time! So, I returned home in 2003 and have been there since.
Do you have mentor or role model?
My hero in life and ministry has always been Mark Pacione. Mark was the director of the Office of Youth Ministry/Division of Youth and Young Adult Ministry for the Archdiocese for more than 25 years. His influence on my life has been so profound that I have a difficult time putting it into words. His love for youth was as unconditional as human love can be. He challenged me. He saw my potential and pushed me to meet, even exceed, it. My goal as an educator and campus minister is to be the kind of adult presence for my students that Mark was for me. Mark died unexpectedly four years ago, but his role as my mentor, role model and hero is very much alive.
What advice can you give working parents?
Be patient with yourself. And try not to compare your parenting style with someone else’s. Most parents are doing the best they can with what they have. I had always envisioned that I would stay home with my children as my mother had with my siblings and me. But that is not how life played out. I was already well established in my career when I got married, and quite frankly, two working parents are required to pay the bills in our household. When I mentioned to my sister that I always thought that I would be a stay-at-home mom, she was quick to tell me that I wouldn’t be good at it. Ouch! But she is right. Sometimes the truth hurts.
What is the best advice another parent has given you?
I am constantly reminded of the age-old wisdom to cherish every moment because time flies by. So true. So, as best we can, we parents need to let the little stuff — and some of the bigger — go. I will never be a perfect parent, but if I focus on what does matter, I can be the parent my children need and deserve.
What do you do for you?
I have been an Irish dancer for about 38 years, and I have run my own dance school for the past 16 years. I love sharing the art of Irish dance and watching my students form fast friendships. That time renews my energy, even when my mostly elementary school-aged dancers are especially spirited.
I’m a teacher, so summer vacation, naturally!