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Rice Memorial High School students provide families with Thanksgiving baskets

SOUTH BURLINGTON—Students and members of the Rice Memorial High School community helped 21 families have a happier Thanksgiving this year by providing them with baskets of food for a Thanksgiving meal.
They also engaged in a bit of competition with first place basket awarded to religion teacher Patrick Welsch’s class for a Snoopy "basket,” and second place going to History teacher Christian Frenette's class. Third place went to religion teacher Marti Burt's class.
Every first-period class was responsible for putting together the fixings for a Thanksgiving meal. Students are encouraged to be creative in their presentation and often go above and beyond what is asked.  

Msgr. McDermott makes good on pledge to have head shaved for Daddy Warbucks part

BURLINGTON--Ever wonder what a $2,000 haircut looks like? 
Look here:  www.dropbox.com/sh/8niadbp3ck6xt0e/AADh08qqaz3wfh5n3yFniU4ia?dl=0
Msgr. John McDermott is vicar general of the Diocese of Burlington and pastor of Christ the King/St. Anthony Parish.  He is playing another part on Nov. 4 and 5: Daddy Warlocks, the iconic and beloved millionaire, in Christ the King School’s production of “Annie, Jr.”
Daddy Warbucks is famously bald, and Msgr. McDermott is – was -- not. However, he agreed to really get in character by shaving his head -- at a cost of $1,000.
He challenged the community to give $1,000 within a week, with all donations going to replace the school’s aging theater lighting, and he would have his head shaved in front of the entire school.  The $1,000 goal was reached in a matter of days, but the donations kept coming in, and by the end of the challenge the school had collected more than $2,000.
Thursday afternoon Msgr. McDermott brought in a professional hairstylist, Lori Detore, who removed his locks on the CKS stage in front a cheering crowd. 
By the end of the $2,000 haircut, he looked much more the Daddy Warlocks part and the school was a big step closer to replacing the theater lighting.    

Help Christ the King School raise funds for Msgr. McDermott's haircut challenge

BURLINGTON—You could call it a $1,000 haircut.
Msgr. John McDermott has challenged the Christ the King School community to raise $1,000 for new stage lights, and if the goal is reached, he will have his head shaved in front of the entire school.
“I made the challenge because the school has been trying to get new stage lights for a while. This may get us closer to getting them,” said the pastor of Christ the King-St. Anthony Parish and vicar general for the Diocese of Burlington.
Of the 16 theater lights, only eight work, and not well. Efforts to raise money to fix the theater lighting have been ongoing for the last three years. The cost is estimated at $12,000 to replace the current bank of lights with the least expensive new version available.
Msgr. McDermott has had crew cuts before, but never a shaved head. “However I'm a lot closer to a bald head than I was as a newly ordained priest,” he said.
The new look will be fitting for his role in Christ the King School’s production of “Annie.” He is playing the famously bald Daddy Warbucks.
“I've done theater since elementary school. I love the stage and the opportunities to work with others to put on a show,” Msgr. McDermott said. “I was asked to join the cast, and I'm thrilled to help out. Being on stage is much more exciting than being in the audience.”
Christ the King School Principal Angela Pohlen expressed deep appreciation to Msgr. McDermott for the “clear love and joyfulness with which he engages the school.”
“Annie” will be performed Nov. 4 and 5 at 7 p.m. at the school.
Tickets are $8 for adults and $5 for students and seniors. Call the school at 862-6696 to reserve tickets and then pay at the door.
All donations to Msgr. McDermott’s fundraiser will go directly to replacing the aging stage lights.
“The community's response is more aptly connected to Msgr. McDermott himself than to the challenge for the lights,” Pohlen said. “Our community loves him. He's present at the school and visits classrooms every single day; he knows the teachers, children and parents by name.”
It is fun for her to watch him rehearse with the students: “He fits right in, adding his talent, joviality and even a little silliness, with theirs. These kids will never, ever forget this experience. As a result, the community has responded with enthusiasm to the challenge. But that's not surprising. How do you not return love with love?”
Give online at www.cksvt.org/warbucks or drop off a check at the school’s front office.
“The arts are an important part of educating the whole child and a great way to bring a community together,” Msgr. McDermott said.

New principal begins at St. Francis Xavier School

Eric Becker, former assistant principal of St. Francis Xavier School in Winooski, is now principal.

His appointment became effective at the end of the last school year.

In addition to his teaching and administrative duties, Becker was instrumental in managing the school’s ongoing technology and facilities improvements. He worked with former Principal Jesse Gaudette since his arrival in 2005 at St. Francis Xavier and was closely involved in the management and operation of the school.

He plans to continue the tradition of excellence for which St. Francis Xavier School has been known.  “We will also continue to work on a way to build on the new addition and modify the education we provide students to reflect the updates to the building. We will strive to balance Catholic tradition with modern educational trends,” he said.

 “As the pastor of St. Francis Xavier Parish and the chair of the St. Francis Xavier School Board, we are both extremely pleased that we have such a talented and committed
educator and administrator to carry on after Mr. Gaudette’s departure,” wrote Msgr. Richard Lavalley and Brian Senecal in a January letter to the school community.

Becker is originally from New Jersey; he came to Vermont to attend Castleton State College where he earned a bachelor’s degree in Practice in Physical Education (elementary and secondary teachers certification) and bachelor’s degree in Social Science (sociology and health).

He began his teaching career in the Addison Rutland Supervisory Union, teaching at Benson Village School and Orwell Village School.  

He became a teacher at St. Francis Xavier School in 2006.  He has served the school as the full-time gym teacher, the after-school director, a part-time computer teacher, assistant principal, a health teacher, a sixth-grade math teacher and a technology coordinator. “I have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know the members of this wonderful school community in all of those roles,” he said.

He said his strengths as principal include an ability to establish relationships with parents and students. “I am willing to do whatever it takes to bring a smile to a student’s face but also enjoy having daily interaction with families so they feel just as much a part of their children’s education as I do,” he said.

Becker lives in Georgia with his wife, Miranda, a high school English teacher.  

“Teaching at St. Francis allows me to live my faith and to be more than a teacher,” he said. “I enjoy the small group sizes and the opportunity to get to know each student and their families. I also greatly appreciate how my faith can be part to of my daily teaching life.”

Bullying prevention: fostering an inclusive environment

Physical confrontation, depression, timidity, withdrawal from peers, lack of dedication to academics, lack of verbal participation, extreme change in personality, mood or grades/connection with school or friends. Torn clothing, unexplained bruises, loss of appetite and difficulty sleeping.

These are all signs a child could be being bullied.

Bullying disrupts students emotionally, mentally, physically and spiritually and can cause them to question their self worth and to withdraw from society. 

Bullying is the selective and intentional aggressive behaviors that are repeated over time, in one or more episodes. And though the aggressor says he or she is “just kidding,” the bullied child may not see it that way and feel powerless to stop or address the behavior to get it to stop.

“As of present, there is no strong research on bullying being more prevalent than in recent years,” said Sheila Conroy, the clinician with Vermont Catholic Charities Inc. in Middlebury. “There is no national longitudinal data as of yet. However, we do know that because of social media (cyber bullying) and children being left to their own internal resources (as a result of one parent or both parents working) bullying has become a serious problem in our communities and schools.”

A child who is bullied should begin by saying “stop” to the action and communicating with a friend or adult that he or she is uncomfortable/anxious about the interaction.

“They need to be able to say ‘no’ and be supported by peers and adults helping them to build these skills,” explained Christopher Montville, adjunct professor and school counseling program field placement supervisor at The College of St. Joseph in Rutland. “Also, they need to be given the chance to practice the right way to address the issue.”

For the past few years, the college has hosted Montville’s week-long intensive summer course addressing current trends and prevention programs on bullying in the 21st century targeted to parents and educators. “It has been an important layer to help increase (bullying) prevention and education in regional schools and communities with key stakeholders in the lives of our area youth,” he said.    

Mount St. Joseph Academy in Rutland has a zero-tolerance policy for bullying. Teachers are available to speak to any students who feels that they are being bullied. “We also foster an inclusive environment where we are all members of a community, a family,” said Principal Sarah Fortier. “Because of this we keep bullying to a minimum. Everyone takes care of everyone else and looks out for everyone else. That is the difference when one is in a small Catholic school.”

She continued, “Jesus taught us to be accepting of each other. He taught us to treat each other as we want to be treated and to treat our neighbors with kindness and compassion. Bullying is the complete opposite of all of those teachings. It is hurting our neighbors and mistreating them rather than taking care of those around us.”

Bullying behavior is often a result of social control or a way to manipulate peers/others. “Also, it is a learned behavior modeled by adults and peers they interact with and, unfortunately, the context for their understanding on how to interact relationally,” Montville said. 

Various resources are available from PACER Institute and NetSmartz.org.

The School of Sacred Heart St. Francis de Sales in Bennington is using Bully Prevention in Positive Behavior Support, designed to blend school-wide positive behavior support with intervention support. Designed specifically for schools, it uses a 3-step response to address problem behavior that could be considered bullying. 

“A key piece to the program is that it also gives bystanders the necessary skills they need to respond when they see inappropriate bullying behavior,” said Principal David Estes.

This will be implemented beginning with this new school year. “The instruction modules within the program itself are succinct, but hopefully the long-lasting effect it will have will have an impact throughout the entire school year and for years to come,” he said of the program that will be used in all grades. 

“It is never too early or too late to start,” he said, noting the importance of helping children and adults understand and become aware that everyone needs to take responsibility for stopping behaviors that they do not like and to use appropriate responses when they see it happening.

 “The world is changing, probably faster than we could have ever thought,” he added. “Given that, we have to be sure our students are prepared to face these difficult situations and address them in light of what we believe to be just and fair as followers of Jesus.”

Conroy concurred: “An approach teachers need to continuously encourage…is self-respect and respect for others which follows the teachings of Christ.”

It’s important to realize that bullying in previous generations sometimes would end at the conclusion of school or recess and not carry over to home or weekend. But “cyber bullying is 24/7 as it can be online, in the Cloud or on their phone/tablet,” Montville pointed out.

Cyber bullying is one reason parents need to monitor their children’s social media use, Conroy added, defining bullying as aggressive behavior that is intentional and involves as imbalance of power or strength. “The power can be physical strength and/or size, usually the boys’ way of bullying, or isolation from the group and ridicule, usually the girls’ way of bullying,” she explained.

If parents suspect their child is being bullied, Fortier encourages them to talk to their child, find out what is happening. “Parents could be in touch with the school administration about this and intervene,” she said. Create a proactive partnership between the school and family.

Montville suggests approaching the topic with one’s child with questions like:  “I’ve heard a lot about bullying in the news. Is that going on at your school?” “I’m worried about you. Are there any kids at school who may be picking on you or bullying you?” “Are there any kids at school who tease you in a mean way?” or “Are there any kids at school who leave you out or exclude you on purpose?”

Communication and collaboration are key. Talk with your child’s teacher and principal. “Start a dialogue or partnership with the school by calling or setting up an appointment to talk with their teacher(s). Teachers are likely in the best position to understand the relationships between your child and other peers in their school,” Montville said.

 “Bullying is damaging. It needs to be stopped as soon as possible,” Fortier said.

Article written by Cori Fugere Urban,
Vermont Catholic content editor/staff writer.

Being a ‘good’ sport Teaching life skills through athletics

As a teacher, a coach and a father, Brian Buczek wants to help children discover different possibilities for success.

And for him, success does not always mean winning; sometimes success is learning a lesson or accomplishing a goal.

Buczek is in his second year as physical education teacher and athletic director at The Bishop John A. Marshall School in Morrisville, and he brings to the position a wealth of athletic experience, particularly in soccer.    

Born in Sharon Springs, N.Y., he began playing soccer in third grade; it was a sport that came easily to him. He played soccer, baseball and basketball in high school and soccer at Paul Smith’s College in Paul Smiths, N.Y. -— where he earned an associate’s degree in 1993 in hospitality management — and at Johnson (Vermont) State College where he has nearly completed a bachelor’s degree in physical education.

He has coached on the collegiate level at Johnson State College and at Middlebury (Vermont) College, and as the boys’ varsity head coach at Stowe High School he led the team to three state Division III championships.

In addition, Buczek coached for eight seasons in Olympic Development Program soccer and also coached for seven seasons in Chittenden County club soccer with Far Post and Nordic Spirit.

This year he is focusing on the Bishop Marshall School soccer program, serving as head coach for the grades seven and eight co-ed team and training all age groups.

“Brian and his family joined the BJAMS community last August, bringing with them energy, enthusiasm and ideas of how to enhance and expand our offerings,” said Head of School Carrie Wilson. 

As athletic director and three-season coach (fall soccer, basketball and spring soccer), he has developed a physical education curriculum that highlights sportsmanship, goal setting, fitness, nutrition and wellness for students in pre-kindergarten through eighth grade.

“He has a positive approach to all he does and works hard to encourage and develop both the emerging and seasoned athlete. His sense of humor, stories and positive outlook make him a pleasure to work with,” Wilson said.

“Every child wants to be challenged, and it’s not just through the physical aspect of the game,” Buczek said. “They also want to be challenged to understand the mental tools needed to get better,” like staying focused and concentrating on what is important. “When you watch the negative antics in professional sports…that is not how to play on the amateur level,” Buczek said.

He works with his players to stay focused on what is important in a game, to work as a team, to problem solve and to continue to advance to the goal — all important life lessons too.

“It’s easy to let kids be mad; it’s hard to find out why they are frustrated or mad and help them to the next step, which is problem solving,” he said.

He sees winning as not only the end result, but individual accomplishments as well. “And if I can help them identify what makes them successful, then I won,” he added. 

A former food and beverage director at a Stowe resort, he and his college sweetheart, Samantha, have been married for 13 years and have two children: Ivan, 11, and Ava, 9. The children — both soccer players — attend Bishop Marshall School.

Through soccer, he hopes his children will have fun, be competitive in a positive way, learn to solve problems, be examples of good sportsmanship and “play hard because effort shadows everything.”

He and his wife — who is an event manager at a Stowe resort and a soccer player — own Vermont United Soccer Academy in Morrisville. And he is a partner for Paddle North, a paddle board business on Lake Elmore in Elmore.

A Morrisville resident, Buczek enjoys attending Mass at Blessed Sacrament Church in Stowe and the weekly school Mass. He said he “lost his way” of practicing his faith when he was a busy, successful restaurant owner in Wells, N.Y., but he has embarked on what he calls a “rejourney of faith.”

Asked what he wants his children to experience from their Catholic faith, Buczek said he wants them to be good, caring and compassionate individuals who make an effort to help others. He wants them to pray, to thank God for their blessings and to understand that God can put even adversity into perspective.

Adopted by an “amazing family,” Buczek said he always felt God was watching over him. “So do I thank God for how lucky I am? 100 percent!” he said.

Article written by Cori Fugere Urban,
Vermont Catholic content editor/staff writer.

College of St. Joseph re-imagines Giorgetti Library through learning commons model

Giorgetti Library is the hub of The College of St. Joseph’s academic community. It’s where students spend hours studying and exploring the numerous electronic databases for research materials and where faculty and staff meet to share ideas and develop new programs.

Throughout the years, the library has grown in response to the needs of the times, including updating its print collection and developing its digital resources. Now, it’s going to have a new look as well.

The library will be an all-inclusive stop through a learning commons model. Learning commons are areas that share space for information technology, classes, tutoring, meeting, reading and studying. 

The college received a $2.2 million Title III grant from the U.S. Department of Education to aid in this effort.

The first floor will include the library’s print collection, as well as comfortable seating, tables for group work and a small café where students can get coffee and snacks. The second floor will house two learning specialists and additional workspaces.

One thing that has been a constant at Giorgetti Library is the welcoming face at the information center. Doreen McCullough has been the librarian for 30 years and is looking forward to the changes, which she said would allow the library to better meet the needs of students.

“It allows students to come together in one spot where they can collaborate and be close enough to the resources and research, all in one easy location,” she said. “The main thing is to get students into the library, where we can help them answer questions.”

The objective of a learning commons, McCullough said, is to foster an environment conducive to teamwork and knowledge co-construction.

“Libraries are transitioning from being just an archive to becoming a learning commons. The physical book still has an important role in supporting the informational needs of learners, but new technology has provided additional avenues of learning and content acquisition,” she said. “No longer do students need to go to the library to obtain research information. Rather, they desire a place that involves participatory learning and cultivates co-construction of knowledge from a variety of sources.”

The library will have expanded hours beginning this fall, and McCullough plans to host workshops with topics ranging from how to cite sources to searching for journal articles online.

This is the second major library renovation that McCullough has seen during her time at the college. The first was the move from a small space at one end of St. Joseph Hall to the current location, which used to house the gymnasium.

“The space was smaller, and the technology wasn’t there. We had a wooden card catalog,” she said, remembering the former space. “When this library was designed in 2006, it met our informational needs adequately. But things have changed since then, just in the last 10 years.”

The library renovations are expected to be complete by fall.

Rice alumna brings faith to life beyond high school

Rice Memorial High School alumna Emeline Gaujac has successfully bridged the gap between adolescence and adulthood, and she credits her Catholic high school education with fostering the “values and morals of what being faithful is all about.”

She is the daughter of Lisa and Roland Gaujac of Charlotte, parishioners of Christ the King Church in Burlington, and a 2010 graduate of Rice, located in South Burlington.

Now a resident of Somerville, Mass., she works as a designer at Prellwitz Chilinski Associates in Cambridge, Mass.

Gaujac, and several colleagues recently entered the Boston Society of Architects’ Northern Avenue Bridge Ideas Competition and won the People’s Choice Award for “Pivot Point Bridge.” The bridge, which opened in 1908, was closed in 2014 because of structural integrity concerns.

“The main goals of the competition were to improve mobility, honor history and create destination,” Gaujac said. “Our design kept the original structure and twisted the center portion on a pivot to reference the original innovative engineering of its time. The twist creates sweeping ramps that lead down to the water and establish a sense of place for the people to connect to the ocean.”

The contest drew 133 submissions, including 99 graphic designs and 34 essays.

Boston Mayor Martin Walsh said the ideas from the competition would be helpful in the design for the new bridge.  Gaujac hopes her firm will be selected to become an official consultant on the project.

Her job at Prellwitz Chilinski Associates now includes design in Schematic Design for proposals with towns and cities. “I have also been able to see a private company wellness center through Schematic Design to currently in construction,” she said. “I design everything from retail, to residential multifamily and mixed use. I work on a variety of projects all at once depending on their deadlines and the client’s needs and usually work on at least three projects a week.”

Gaujac earned a bachelor’s degree in architecture from Northeastern University in 2015. She is currently in the process of studying for credentials to improve sustainable design at the firm, which involves designing objects with the principles of social, economic and ecological sustainability.

Through her firm, Gaujac is also able to give back to the less fortunate. She volunteers with Canstruction (a food drive charity event) and has donated time to designing a Habitat for Humanity project.

Her firm hosts charity drives, such as Toys for Tots and On the Rise. Any money raised by one person each up to $500 will be matched by the firm for any charity. “Needless to say I love PCA because their values are in line with my own,” she said. “The culture here is amazing, and the people here never cease to amaze me in their selflessness.”

This culture reminds her of her experience at Rice. The teachers and staff there guided her to learn from her mistakes and taught her to make right decisions. “Rice was a bubble of goodness, faith and appreciation,” she commented. “The moral compass was consistently pointing you toward the right direction, and you knew when you weren’t headed there.”

Sister of Mercy Laura DellaSanta, Rice principal, said the values of goodness, faith and appreciation Gaujac mentioned are at the core of the school’s mission. There students learn those values in all aspects of school life — faith activities, academics, athletics, theater, community service — and they help one another, growing and learning from one another and the adults there to support them. 

“We are trying to feed the seeds within them and nurture the gifts God has given them,” she said. Rice as “a bubble of goodness, faith and appreciation” indeed “says it all.”

Leaving Rice and getting older “popped that bubble in a rude awakening that is the world we live in,” Gaujac continued. “Not everyone lives in a town like Burlington, and not everyone grew up understanding right from wrong in the most basic sense; for example, that every person should be treated with respect and are equal. Period.” 

She would like to become an architect and begin her own firm, one that designs buildings to create art and gives back to the community. She’d also like to be a part-time university architecture professor.

“​I am blessed to have found a profession that I love,” Gaujac said. “I finish work every day a little tired but always with a smile on my face.”

She tries to design to improve the quality of the way people live every day. “If I am successful, then the extra hours I choose to spend at work and at home will all be worth it,” she said.

Article written by Cori Fugere Urban, Vermont Catholic staff writer.

Mount St. Joseph Academy efforts produce rise in enrollment

As the 2016-2017 school year approaches, Mount St. Joseph Academy is heading toward its enrollment goal of 90 students.

With 83 students as of July 12, Principal Sarah Fortier was hopeful that the goal would be reached by opening day, Aug. 31.

When she arrived as principal in 2014, enrollment was at 66, just two away from the lowest enrollment, which happened the next year and a far cry from a high of nearly 500 in 1964.

“MSJ has struggled as all other small schools. A lot of it is demographics,” Fortier said.

But the hard work MSJ supporters have put into the enrollment situation is paying off. “MSJ is a wonderful community and people are starting to see first hand the type of education available and the caliber of students that are graduating from MSJ,” said the principal, a 1999 graduate of the Catholic high school. “We have had 100 percent college placement over the past three years.”

Also, the high school has partnered with The College of St. Joseph in Rutland so that any student who graduates from MSJ can attend the college for two years tuition free.

She attributes enrollment growth also to other positive things happening at the school: MSJ athletic teams have had tremendous success; the music program offers personal lessons to any student who would like them in any instrument. The faculty is dedicated to providing a top-notch education to all students. 

“We have incredible diversity in our student population, and students get a worldview while walking the halls at The Mount,” she said. “Most importantly, MSJ teaches the Catholic values and morals necessary to navigate life in a very trying world.”

As of July 11, there were 11 non-Vermont students enrolled in Mount St. Joseph Academy, but Diversity Committee Chair Paul Gallo said there was the potential for 16-20 by opening day.

“It’s just wonderful. They are bringing the ‘melting pot’ right to Convent Avenue in Rutland” where the school is located, he said.

Last year he and his wife, Ingrid, hosted two Haitian students, which he said was a “great experience.”

Many of the international and diversity students come to Mount St. Joseph to prepare for college and are the first in their families to go on to higher education.

Because of Rutland’s own lack of diversity, these students bring a “flavor of the world” to the school, said Gallo, a member of the Marketing and Development Committee. “It makes for a nice education for local kids, preparing them for the world today.”

“Out-of-state students are just like all the other students at MSJ,” Fortier said. “Specifically the students from New York City have come to MSJ looking for the opportunity for a better education in a safe environment. They bring a new worldview to our local students. Students from other countries have provided knowledge of the bigger world and have shared so much of their culture with us. It is a wonderful opportunity to have these fantastic kids with us!”

She said supporters of the school can help by spreading the word about the students’ successes, by bringing future “Mounties” to the school to see how wonderful the MSJ community is and by encouraging future students to participate in a “shadow day” to learn more about the school.

Students, too, are involved in attracting other students to the school. For example, several students left MSJ to go to another, bigger school. “After spending one year there, several decided to return because they missed our community,” Fortier said. “They have become very involved in getting more students to our school.”

Also, the student ambassador groups have been working with the school’s marketing committee. They have taken to social media to get in touch with students and to invite them to different events. 

As enrollment increases, Fortier said she is “glad to see that everyone is finally seeing the positive results.”

Completely dedicated to the mission of MSJ, she believes being principal there is a vocation to which she has been called. “I believe the MSJ community is the best Rutland has to offer. I have seen the education at MSJ change the lives of students. I also believe that being a graduate of MSJ put me on the right track for success in my life,” she said, vowing to work tirelessly to continue to grow the enrollment.  

Article written by Cori Fugere Urban, Vermont Catholic staff writer.

Digital academy principal gets additional role: superintendent

The principal of the Diocese of Burlington’s new St. Therese Digital Academy has another assignment: superintendent of Catholic schools for the statewide diocese.

St. Therese Digital Academy, an online Catholic high school, opened its virtual doors in June in preparation for the fall semester. Through it, the rich tradition of a Catholic education can reach students in areas of the diocese that would not otherwise be able to access it.

Lisa Lorenz, who assumed responsibilities with the online academy in April, took over as Catholic schools chief on Aug. 1, replacing Sister of Mercy Laura DellaSanta who is the new principal of Rice Memorial High School in South Burlington.

“It is my intention to get [the digital academy] up and running this year and hire a new principal to take it over as the demands will soon increase,” Lorenz said. “That way I will be able to solely devote my time [to serving as] superintendent.”

There are 10 Catholic elementary, three Catholic high schools and one Catholic preschool in Vermont. 

Born in Okinawa to a military family, Lorenz relocated from Hanover, Penn., to Milton.

She earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Rutgers University in New Brunswick, N.J., in 1994; a master’s in moral theology from St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Wynnewood, Penn., in 1997; and a master’s in pastoral counseling from Loyola University in Baltimore in 2008.  She taught Catholic middle school, was an elementary school administrator and was coordinator for graduate school in school counseling and mental health.

She is a licensed counselor in Maryland and Vermont.  

Her work has included private and public schools working with at-risk children, adolescents and families in urban school settings and private practice providing counseling for children, adolescents and adults/couples. Her special areas of interest include academic success, depression and anxiety disorders, bereavement, anxiety, pastoral and spiritual concerns, trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy, behavior interventions for children/adolescents in home and school settings and animal assisted therapy.

“I have many years of experience in education and leadership on a variety of levels. I am a collaborative leader, a good listener and bring a skill set of being able to provide programmatic assessments and problem solving,” she said. “In addition, I have a deep love and passion for my faith, education and mental health and well-being.”

According to the new superintendent of Catholic schools, the biggest challenge that Catholic schools face in Vermont is sufficient enrollment and lack of resources.

“I plan on getting to know every school, the principals, teachers, students and families well,” she said. “Equally important is assessing our resources, talents and gifts, thinking outside the box, being creative and open-minded so that we support this important mission of the Church to help our families in bringing Catholic education to all who thirst” for it.

Her hobbies include running, hiking, kayaking and training her dogs in hopes they will become therapy dogs. She also enjoys cooking, playing piano, oil painting and taking long walks on dirt roads.

Article written by Cori Fugere Urban, Vermont Catholic staff writer.
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