Ss. Simon and Jude – Class of 1995
Bourgade – 1995-1997
St Mary’s – Class of 1999
Background: I am an Arizona native, the youngest of five children, raised by two loving Catholic parents. My parents valued the importance of Catholic education and sacrificed so much so that all 5 of us could attend Catholic school. As a family we fully embraced our Catholic community and became as active as we could be. I met my husband Chris, a Brophy alum, on a Mexico mission trip through Ss. Simon and Jude youth group when we were in high school. We married in 2001 and have two beautiful children. Kate and Connor, who attend Xavier College Preparatory and Ss.Simon and Jude respectively.
My experiences in the Diocese of Phoenix have not only made me who I am but continue to inspire and motivate me to do what I do every day. My commitment to Catholic education has grown through every career move I have made, from serving at Our Lady of Joy to St. John Vianney, and now at St. Agnes. I have loved each community for its uniqueness and the people who became so important to my day-to-day life in each situation. But mostly I am grateful for how each community and role has challenged me to grow professionally as well as spiritually—and each brings its own lessons in humility! I love serving in my home diocese, but I am also very invested in the work I do on a national scale to help others move their communities forward. The national community of Catholic educators is filled with incredible talent, dedication, grace, and generosity. God has blessed me with gifts and responsibilities, and I am motivated by knowing He expects me to use my gifts to fulfill those responsibilities.
What impact did Catholic schools have on you?
I firmly believe that I am the person I am today because of my parents and the Catholic schools I attended. I was blessed to be able to receive a Catholic education, and I never take that for granted. I know that it has afforded me many opportunities and I try to look at all of them through the lens of gratitude.
At St Mary’s I was taught many things, but one thing that has always stuck out to me from my time there is the importance of tradition. There are deep rooted traditions at all Catholic schools, but it is very present at St. Mary’s. This sense of tradition and community brings people together with a strong bond and Catholic foundation.
Ss. Simon and Jude instilled in me a sense of community, a love of God, and a desire to serve. It was through the community of SSJ that I discovered my desire to continue on in my faith and pursue my dream of being a Catholic school teacher.
When I became a teacher, I knew that I wanted to teach in a Catholic school. I couldn’t imagine teaching any other way. I quickly realized that I wanted to continue my love of Catholic education and move into administration. When I became an administrator, it was very evident to me that many families were not afforded the same opportunity to have a Catholic education as I was. I then began to make that my personal mission–to make sure that Catholic education was accessible, attainable, and affordable to all. As a principal, I have worked hard to have our families access all available funding, in the last 5 years, St Agnes has been awarded over 4 million dollars in scholarships. As a parent, I have been available to take advantage of the tax credit to help afford Catholic education for my own children.
I love that every day I can make a small impact in a child’s life. I love being able to educate the hearts and minds of students. I also love that I have the opportunity to make Catholic education accessible attainable and affordable to anyone who desires it!
- Married for almost 19 years with two amazing children.
- After graduating from St Mary’s, I went on to earn my bachelors in Elementary Education, a Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education and Curriculum and Instruction as well as a certificate in Administration.
- I have served as Catholic school teacher and principal here in the Diocese of Phoenix for nearly 17 years.
- I serve as a Latino Enrollment Institute Program Coach at University of Notre Dame, working with principals across the country to increase Latino enrollment in Catholic schools.
- Increased Catholic School student enrollment by 50% in a primarily low-income area.
- In collaboration with another Diocese of Phoenix school, created and led a blended learning program through training, implementation, and review. Enhanced our school’s culture by creating a set of student expectations that integrated into our school philosophy and pillars.
- Led a low-income Catholic school through the Covid-19 pandemic, switching to a virtual platform, providing students with devices, and reconfiguring classrooms, while offering support to teachers and administrators and making financial resources available to families needing tuition assistance.
- Collaborated with local community leaders to establish a V Encuentro evangelization task force within the Diocese of Phoenix that is identifying the education and ministry needs of parish and school communities in our efforts to more effectively reach out to Hispanic/ Latino Catholics
- Served on the National Catholic Education Association (NCEA) national advisory council.
COVID has taught me to live in the moment and be very flexible. Right now, I plan to continue to make St Agnes the best possible place, helping our students to meet their goals of college and heaven each day.