Unfamiliar Faces

For the 2019-2020 school year, STA has appointed seven new teachers, all of whom have a new perspective to bring to STA.

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Unfamiliar Faces

Mimi Harman- New STA theology teacher. photo by Katie Massman

Mimi Harman- New STA theology teacher. photo by Katie Massman

Mimi Harman- New STA theology teacher. photo by Katie Massman

Mimi Harman- New STA theology teacher. photo by Katie Massman

by Carmon Baker, Web Editor

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Patrick Curran- New STA math teacher. photo by Katie Massman

Patrick Curran:

What classes do you teach?

I teach two sections of Geometry. 

Where did you work before St. Teresa’s?

I was at Rockhurst High School for the last six years teaching math. Before that, I taught at Georgetown Prep, which is a school in Washington D.C., and before that, I taught at Regis Jesuit High School, which is in Denver, Colorado, teaching math the whole time. 

Why did you decide to apply to STA?

I’m going back to school full-time. I left Rockhurst because if I was going to go to school full-time, I couldn’t teach full-time, so I needed a part-time job. I knew a couple people over here already just because Rockhurst faculty and St. Teresa’s faculty work pretty closely together, so I knew that they hired part-time teachers. So, I just let them know that I was interested, and then when something came open, I applied. 

Are you a sports coach or moderator of any clubs or extracurriculars?

No, I’m not. I used to coach tennis when I was at Rockhurst, but since I’m only here part-time, I teach fourth hour and sixth hour and then I’m here for activity. I’m not around other than that, so I’m not coaching. 

So far, what is your favorite part about teaching at STA?

So far, one, I think the people that work here are really awesome. I think the teachers are really great. Also, this is my tenth year and going from all boys to all girls, it’s been different, but so far I’ve really liked it, just because it’s a new challenge for me that I haven’t had to deal with in a while. It just makes coming to work something that I haven’t had  to expect or anticipate for a long time, so it’s kind of like just like a little new variety that I’ve really enjoyed so far. 

What are some of your interests outside of school?

Outside of school, I do a lot of yoga. I went this morning, so usually at 6 o’clock before I come to work, I’ll go do yoga or go to spin class. I belong to Woodside, so I’ll go do that. I live on the Plaza, so I spend a lot of time going to the [Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art] and things like that and then reading. I’m always reading two or three books at once and, now that I’m part time, I can actually finish books just because during the school year, if you’re teaching full time, it’s hard to read. 

If you had one piece of advice for students, what would it be?

Do your homework. It’s always the advice I give. Whenever I have new parents that come, like freshman parents, especially at Rockhurst, when they’re worried about their kid doing well, I always just tell them to do their homework because if you do your homework, then you’ll do well enough on tests and quizzes that you can make it. The only kids that have ever struggled in my class are the kids that don’t do their homework and then the tests and the quizzes, which is most of their grade, they struggle on. If all you do is become a consistent, hard-worker, you’ll be okay. 

Is there anything else you would like students to know about you? 

Just that I’m really excited to be here and that, even though I’m not here that often, I hope that I can be an asset to especially the math department and if girls ever need help, I’m glad that I can be here in the [Math Hub] during Activity, but I just hope that I can become a part of this community, even though I am here part-time. I think it’s important that I have a chance to integrate myself with everybody. I’m excited. 

Jazzmin Earl- New STA art teacher. photo by Katie Massman

Jazzmin Earl:

What classes do you teach?

I have seven right now. Two Drawing classes, Art and Design Portfolio, Digital Photography, Graphic Design, Painting and Journalism. 

Where did you work before St. Teresa’s?

I worked at Cristo Rey for two years. I currently still work at the Nelson-Atkins museum. Before Cristo Rey, I worked in Grandview at Butcher-Greene Elementary School for eight years

Why did you decide to apply to STA?

I had heard amazing things about the school and the students and the staff and faculty. 

Are you a sports coach or moderator of any clubs or extracurriculars?

I am moderating The Windmoor magazine. 

So far, what is your favorite part about teaching at STA?

I think my favorite part is that the girls are so ready and willing to learn. 

What are some of your interests outside of school?

My family, photography and food. 

What are some of your favorite restaurants in Kansas City?

Black Dirt is probably one of my favorites. Ruby Jean’s Juicery, that’s a good one. 

If you had one piece of advice for students, what would it be?

It would be to be yourself and don’t worry what other people are thinking. Don’t be afraid to create.

Rebecca Hare- New STA math teacher. photo by Katie Massman

 Rebecca Hare:

What classes do you teach?

I teach Algebra I and Algebra II.

Are you originally from Kansas City?

Yes, I am. I actually went to St. Thomas Aquinas, so the other STA, but now I’m at the original.  But, yes. Grew up here, went to high school here and I went to grade school at Holy Trinity as well. 

Where did you work before St. Teresa’s?

I just graduated from [Creighton University] before this. 

Why did you decide to apply to STA?

I knew I wanted to come back to Kansas City after graduating from college and I had always thought I would really like teaching at an all-girls school. Just by chance I was like, “okay, I’m going to check STA,” because my grandma graduated here and my aunt graduated from here, so I’ve had some family come here. And I checked online and they had a math opening, so I applied and got the job and I feel like it was definitely meant to be. 

Do you hope to get involved in any clubs, extracurriculars or sports at STA?

I do. In high school, I was a really big runner. I ran cross country and track and I also played basketball, so I’m really hoping to coach sometime, but this first year I’m just trying to get my feet under me with teaching and then go from there. 

So far, what is your favorite part about teaching at STA?

My favorite part would definitely be the people. I would say that my students are awesome and they always come to class with a smile on their face and they always make me laugh, which is always fun in math class. Also, just my co-workers. The math department’s phenomenal. Everyone that I’ve met so far has been so welcoming, so definitely the people, the community here. 

What are some of your interests outside of school?

I still am a runner. I still run for fun. I’m obsessed with cooking and baking, love to cook and bake. I’m a really big reader, and I am kind of like a Marvel nerd. Love those types of movies, and I love my dog, being active outside. That’s kind of me.

If you had one piece of advice for students, what would it be?

The first thing that came to my head was live in the moment. I think that’s very important at this day and age. When you’re in school, you keep thinking about the next step, and yes, while that’s important to plan and get ready for college, in the end your high school years are going to go by so fast and when it gets to that point, you’re going to miss it. So you really just got to live in the moment, embrace every moment that you can and just be present with the people around you.  

Mimi Harman- New STA theology teacher. photo by Katie Massman

Mimi Harman:

What classes do you teach?

I teach two sections of freshman Introduction to Scripture and four sections of juniors a semester, so I get all of them, in Social Concerns. 

Where did you work before St. Teresa’s?

I was a stay-at-home-mom, in the house, raising four kids and I worked part time for St. James Catholic Church on 39th [Street] and Troost and I also helped take care of a sweet, little old lady who had some health issues. 

Why did you decide to apply to STA?

I worked here before and I loved it and I have a passion for teaching and a passion for my subject, which is God and life and so I felt like it was good timing to return to the classroom. 

So far, what is your favorite part about teaching at STA?

The girls.I just see so much hope and beauty in the future when I look at these young women, look in their faces. I just like teaching and connecting with the students. 

What are some of your interests outside of school?

I love volleyball. I love to run, but I’ve been injured. I love food, I love my kids’ activities and I just like to be outside a lot. I garden and cook. 

If you had one piece of advice for students, what would it be?

Not to stress that everything is changing and that God is moving in their lives and adores them. 

Is there anything else you would like students to know about you? 

Just look me up, come say hi, come to my opens. I look forward to meeting [the students]. 

Greg Harkness- New STA theology teacher. photo by Katie Massman

Greg Harkness: 

What classes do you teach?

I teach in the theology department and I teach sophomores and freshmen.

Where did you work before St. Teresa’s?

I worked at Rockhurst High School as the principal. 

Why did you decide to apply to STA?

I had been principal of Rockhurst for nine years and I really enjoyed it. It was a wonderful job, but I just needed a change in some of the stress levels in my life and it was just time, in the most positive way. Like most principals, I had been a teacher first, so I reflected on that I wanted to move back into the classroom. St. Teresa’s had an opening, I applied and here I am.  

What are some of the differences you’ve noticed between STA and Rockhurst?

I appreciate the difference only because I have been working at schools that were single-gender boys. I really like the way our conversations go. As a male in a female environment, it’s wonderful for me to experience your views on topics, particularly when it relates to theology. I like advisory, I’ve never worked in a school that’s had an advisory program like this before. I really like the concept of that so far. But in many ways, I feel like I’m in the exact same school. Your relationships that you build, the type of community that we build, the type of community that we want to build, I think is stronger in a single-gender institution. Fortunately for me, I see some of those same aspects here that I’ve seen in some of the other schools where I’ve worked. 

Are you a sports coach or moderator of any clubs or extracurriculars?

Not yet, but I’m trying to figure out what I need to do. I’ll probably be working on some KAIROS stuff. I’m open to do whatever. 

So far, what is your favorite part about teaching at STA?

Well, the favorite part about teaching is being back in the classroom again. Might sound a little arrogant to say, but I would like to think that I was a good principal. And before that, I was an assistant principal of academics and I would like to think that I did a good job there. And I’ve also been a guidance counselor. I think that, almost from the beginning, I’ve missed teaching, even though I’ve enjoyed the work of administration. The thing that I think I find most impressive is how welcoming and open the community is. A real safety blanket that I have right now that I think I’ve needed in my first couple of years are, you are all the second half of many of the families that I’ve worked with at Rockhurst. That’s been really fun, just meeting my former students’ sisters, cousins. I’ve seen some of you in our plays, I’ve seen some of you at our games, you’ve danced at our half-time before, so it’s kind of fun now to be in that environment, just because it’s very different, but it’s so familiar at the same time. 

What are some of your interests outside of school?

I have a lot of work and energy that I spend with issues at the border. I’ve been president for six years of a small non-profit that builds homes in Northern Mexico for displaced people. I’ve been part of that organization for about 20 years. I love to travel. In fact, travelling to Italy and being in Rome, particularly with my interest in Church history, I like that very much. I also really like Kansas City’s local food scene. I’m kind of a foodie myself, so I really like trying new things and new restaurants.

If you had one piece of advice for students, what would it be?

Think big. I think one of the challenges that studying theology, particularly as a teenager, is that for most young women here, faith is just something that is just part of their lives. “I believe this because I’ve always believed it. I don’t know that I’ve ever thought about it before. I don’t know that I’ve ever made it my own.” So, that’s what I’d kind of like to bring out. Think big and think often and think outside the box. 

Is there anything else you would like students to know about you? 

I’m a native [of Kansas City]. I went to Rockhurst from St. Elizabeth’s and then I moved to New York City, where I lived my entire adult life until 11 years ago, when I moved here to be at Rockhurst. It was really nice moving back, and recognizing all the names and having classmates of mine have sons in school. It’s kind of fun now having classmates of mine that have daughters in this school. This institution is far more important to Kansas City than I think sometimes those of us here actually think. We’ve been open since 1866, we’re the oldest school in Kansas City. Not only the first one, but one of the only few in the region for young women and just the way that this institution has changed our civic history and our civic conversation is pretty impressive. 

Caitlyn Kogge- New STA PE teacher. photo by Katie Massman

Caitlyn Kogge:

What classes do you teach?

I teach four sections of health and wellness, and then I teach a weight training class that we added this semester and I do fitness activities. 

Where did you work before St. Teresa’s?

I taught at a middle school in Florida, just outside of Orlando, and before that I did two and a half years of teaching at an elementary school in Kentucky. 

Why did you decide to apply to STA?

I actually met the head volleyball coach playing volleyball, and she said that they had a position available if I was interested in coaching the freshman team. When I came in, that’s when they told me they needed someone to run the strength and conditioning stuff over the summer, so I was like, “of course I would love to do that.” My undergrad’s in exercise science. I’m really into strength and conditioning, so I got in there and more and more things kept popping up. When I found out that the old P.E. teacher, Stacie O’Rear, was retiring, I was like, “Yes, I will of course come here.” 

Are you a sports coach or moderator of any clubs or extracurriculars?

I am the varsity assistant for volleyball this year, and then I coach the throwing events for track. I am moderating clubs for the first time, so I will be moderating Outdoor Sports Club. [History teacher Andrew Meyer]  and I are running it together. It was originally going to be a Spikeball club, but they had another club that was similar, so they merged them. And then I’m moderating Mock Trial, which is now an extracurricular instead of a club. 

So far, what is your favorite part about teaching at STA?

I just really like the environment. I feel like the faculty and staff are all very passionate about their mission here. The girls are driven and smart and unique and funny. I feel like we give them plenty of opportunities to kind of express that part of themselves, so I really like that. I also like that it’s got like a mini-college vibe to it. We have very strong athletics that we take very seriously here, but our academics are also strong. The girls have a little bit of freedom, which is different than you see at most schools, so I just like it. 

What are some of your interests outside of school?

Outside of school, I mostly lift. I go to a power lifting gym, so I’m really into that. And I still play volleyball a lot. I’ll play a little bit of beach and some indoor when indoor season rolls around. Outside of that, I usually just try to spend as much time as I can with my husband. We try a bunch of new restaurants, and we like to see all the things that Kansas City has to offer. We’re still new to the area, so we’re always kind of exploring. 

So far, what’s your favorite restaurant in Kansas City? 

This is challenging, I have a lot of options. So, I don’t advertise it a whole lot, but my husband and I are both vegan, so we really like Cafe Gratitude if we’re trying to get fancy and spend a little bit more time out to eat because it’s a little more expensive. Happy Apple Cafe is right down the street from here and it’s locally owned and it’s fantastic. The food is weird and experimental and fun. But other than that, just any food trucks and popups I try to go to all of them because there’s so much good food in the area that these places just don’t have storefronts yet. So, pretty much, any vegan popup, I will be there. 

If you have one piece of advice for students, what would it be? 

I would just tell them to try anything and everything that they want to do and to do it fearlessly. If you have something that you’re interested in and you’re not sure it’s going to go well or you might not like it, just try it because you only have so long in your life to try some of these things because you get busy and things come up and everything starts to narrow as you get older, and, right now, they have such an opportunity to do really whatever they want and just go for it full force, and that’s what I would recommend to anybody. Just dive in.  

Chiun-Pei Lin- New STA Chinese teacher. photo by Katie Massman

Chiun-Pei Lin:

What classes do you teach?

I teach Mandarin 1, 2 and 3. 

Where did you work before St. Teresa’s?

Well, there were about five years that I didn’t have a full-time job because I had a daughter, she’s five years old now, and I was staying home with her because she had severe eczema and needed intensive care. And way before that, I was working in a boarding school in Colorado Springs and also I worked in Phoenix, there was another private school. 

Why did you decide to apply to STA?

I have never taught in an all-girls school, and I’m just interested in the atmosphere and I’m hoping that I can actually [change] some woman’s life with my effort, that’s why I decided to come over here. 

So far, what is your favorite part about teaching at STA?

Well, I really like the atmosphere so far. And all the faculty and students, the girls, are all very friendly, very open-minded to try different things, that’s what I like about this place.

What are some of your interests outside of school?

I like to sing a lot, so before my girl was born, I usually [sang] pop music, but now I’m singing children’s music. And I also like to watch movies. 

Are you hoping to get involved in choir, or any other musical activities at St. Teresa’s?

Well, in the future, sure. In the previous school I taught, I usually [taught] all the classes I [taught] at least one to two song, and they [could] sing as a group, like a choir, in Mandarin. And we performed at school, or assemblies. Everybody like[d] it. 

If you had one piece of advice for students, what would it be?

Keep your interest of learning a subject is very important. So no matter how good you are, or how bad you are at this moment, keep motivating yourself. Keep the interest and keep learning. Never give up.

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