Happy Catholic Schools Week! I am so excited to feature three amazing Catholic educators on the blog this week!

Our first guest blogger is someone I have had the privilege of working with for 8 years at Saint Joseph’s. Esther and I met in my third summer of the PACE program at the University of Portland, which was her first summer of the same program. Her second year of teaching she moved to our school, where I was her super nervous and probably not that helpful mentor. I also take credit, although I shouldn’t, for Esther and her husband getting together. That first summer I put them together to team teach commas in my summer school class, and now they are happily married and have a beautiful daughter.

Since those early days of teaching, Esther has become a close friend and a role model to me of compassionate teaching and leadership. Here is why she loves teaching in a Catholic school in her own words:

I was first drawn to Catholic education because of the excellence in education. I found the more I worked in Catholic education, the two things I most appreciated were the ability to share my faith and the supportive community. I grew up in the Catholic faith, but I didn’t become really active in my faith until graduate school. At first I was very hesitant to pray or talk about my faith or God with the students. My thoughts would be, “Where does God fit in with math? We don’t have time for this.” As I grew in my faith, I felt God calling me more and more to share my faith. Doing so has so deeply enriched my life and the classroom environment. Each day I am also so thankful for the supportive community that will always be there to lift me up in prayer. 

Esther Seidl hails from Lexington, Kentucky. She attended undergrad at Clemson University and earned her Masters of Arts in Teaching from the University of Portland. This is her ninth year teaching middle school; she has taught mostly math but also religion, science, and history.