By Aldona Casey
Q: Where were you born, did you grow up there?
A: Everett, Massachusetts. No, I grew up in Billerica, Massachusetts, its near Lowell in the Merrimack valley.
Q: I know you attended College of the Holy Cross, why do you speak so highly of it, what did you like most about going there?
A: The best part about Holy Cross was the class sizes because they were small. It felt like you were with other students who were interested in learning. It was very challenging, but it was great to be in an environment where everyone was there to learn new things...
Q: Did you have any jobs before you were a teacher? What made you want to transition from those jobs to teaching?
A: I ran nursing homes, I was an administrator or executive director. I did that for a little over three years. Kerri, Mrs. Brodie, became a teacher shortly after we got married… and I would attend school events with her and she was an advisory, so I went to the dances and the plays and all that stuff and I really enjoyed that. And that exposure made me think that I might want to be a teacher...
Q: What is your favorite thing about teaching?
A: Students. You learn from them as well. And it keeps you aware of everything that is going on..., you guys bring a different perspective, it's interesting to hear the perspectives of students... And it's an important job. You feel like you are making an impact, you might not hear about it, but every once and a while you get that letter from a former student thanking you.
Q: Who is your favorite person in history and why? If you can’t pick an all time favorite, then just name someone who you really like.
A: My favorite person in history changes. Right now, I’m reading a book about Grant, General Grant and President Grant, and he is rising up there because of some of the challenges he overcame. He failed at a lot of different things, like businesses and he struggled with alcoholism, but he did a lot of great things as well. He is definitely not one of our best presidents, but his life story makes it very interesting. But that's today; when I read Alexander Hamilton, I liked him as well. He was anti-slavery during that time period. I liked his passion. And he also overcame stuff. I guess I like the story of people overcoming failures.
Q: If you could give a piece of advice to your younger self, what would that be?
A: Appreciate Learning. When I was in High school and definitely my first years of college, I was doing it just because in the end result if you got good grades, you made good money... But now I love reading, whether it's reading a book about general Grant or watching a historical documentary, now I just enjoy learning about different things, and it doesn't necessarily have to be a history thing. If I could go back the most important thing is to learn to be a learner. Learn to enjoy learning and that's something you should do your whole life.
Q: Is there anything about teaching that you would say you disliked?
A: *roaring laughter from Mr. Brodie and Mr. Barnes*
I understand the need for testing, one of the things I don’t like about it is, at times, you feel like you are being forced into a very specific curriculum, like with the AP courses, you have to teach their way of answering questions and sometimes that can take away a little bit of creativity of what you can learn in the classroom.
Q: Why do you think teaching history to students is important?
A: The simplest reason is it is hard to understand today. History is a story of how we got to where we are, so I think it's very difficult to understand the nuances of our relations with other countries, our politics of today, without knowing the long background that lead to that. I think it's crucial to have well informed citizens so when they go out and vote on issues or even just share their opinions on issues, they have a background as to why we are, and where we are…