5 Questions with Mrs. Mann

Gabrielle C.'18, Writer

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1.) Why did you choose to be the principal of Padua Academy?

“I believe in women’s education, and I believe that this is where I was called to be. It has worked out just beautifully. I love every single second being at Padua with the girls.”  

2.)  What other than your faith has influenced you in your life?

“Certainly people, some real leadership of people; not only women but men as well. The people that I’ve chosen to be friends with and the people that I’ve chosen to be mentors with have helped me an awful lot.”

3.) What was your life like before coming to Padua?

“I was doing a lot of other things. I was a superintendent of the Archdiocese. Before that I was working at an elementary school as the principal there. Before that I was working at a corporation called MBNA. I was working with the foundation, which is the part that gives money away. I was working with school teachers for this foundation in three different states: Ohio, Maine, and Delaware.”

4.) What made you become a principal or teacher to begin with?

“I became a teacher of special needs kids in the very beginning because I thought that you needed the most skills, the most refined skills in dealing with the students that had the most problems. I still believe that, but, now I think that all teachers need to be highly skilled. They also need to have great compassion.  

    Like I said people influenced me, and a person that influenced me was a tiny, little boy, he was three-years-old, and his name was Jonathan. I had a friend that was a social worker, and Jonathan had been abused. She needed a place for emergency placement for Jonathan. So she called me and I said, ‘I’ll take Jonathan’. He was three and a hydrocephalic baby. It means his head was unusually large, so he was mentally handicapped, and his body was very small. Jonathan also couldn’t walk that well; he had full leg braces, but I really loved that little Jonathan. He stayed with me for about four or five months, and I would have kept Jonathan for the rest of my life, that’s how much I loved him. But it occurred to me that many people needed to love kids just like Jonathan and that’s really why I went into special ed. He influenced me. It’s funny that after I became a teacher in special ed., Jonathan was sent to my class as a six-year-old in first grade. We were reunited after all. I learned a lot from Jonathan. I learned the idea of grit, never giving up. Jonathan had so many handicaps, but he wanted to run and play like everybody else and he did; he never gave up. His braces did not hold him back. His balance, mental condition never held him back. I really wonder what ever happened to Jonathan, and I would really love to meet Jonathan again as a grown up. He was reunited with his mother; his father was put in jail because the father tried to kill Jonathan. I hoped and prayed and I continue to hope and pray for Jonathan and that his father stayed far, far, far away from Jonathan for the rest of his life. Jonathan and I used to go swimming and that’s where he didn’t need to have his braces and that’s where he had freedom because that equalized him. He could swim like other people, and he adored swimming.”

5.) What other school(s) did you teach at or were the principal of before Padua?

    “ In Illinois, I taught math and reading to seventh and eighth graders in a Catholic school. I then moved here and became the principal of St. Paul’s School in the inner city; then I moved to MBNA. After I left MBNA, I became the principal of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. All before that, many other schools. So I had a lot of experience with thousands and thousands of kids of all ages and varying exceptionalities. I primarily taught kids with emotional handicaps when I was in the public school system.”