Teacher Feature

Cora Bryne: Creighton University

"I decided to join Magis because I knew how hard my first year teaching would be and I wanted the support of living in a community with other new teachers. I wanted to be able to bounce ideas off someone who was in the same situation as I was and work with them to succeed."

"I think being a first year teacher can be so challenging and it is really nice to have all the support that Magis provides. It is a nice transition into the real world!"

Cohort: 15
Placement, Dominican High School, Milwaukee, WI
Subject: Math
Fun fact: I studied abroad in Rome my junior year.

Matt Miller: UC Berkeley

"If you are a future teacher, I cannot imagine the first few years of teaching without the emotional and professional support of my community, program staff, and school staff. I am challenged to do my best work everyday, and it had been too long since I had been called to meet such a demanding challenge. It is natural to find value in this work."

"At the beginning of my second school year, I found that I was pleased to see former students in the building, and they were happy to see me. Joy is not the only byproduct of being a teacher, but it's a simple confirmation of being in the right place."

Cohort: 14
Placement: Cristo Rey Milwaukee
Subject: English & Academic Success
Fun Fact: If I have to miss school due to illness, I better be able to watch Jackie Chan movies during the recovery process.

Sarah Godfrey: Creighton University

"The relationships that I have developed with my Omaha community and those who are in other cities are something that I'm really proud of to have had the chance to develop. The lessons that I have learned from fellow teachers are ones that I know will last with me for a long time."

"We went to a pumpkin patch with some housemates last year and got the chance to sit around a campfire and look at pumpkins and gourds. This year we have gone to the humane society and played/looked at really awesome dogs and cats."

Cohort: 14
Placement: Creighton Preparatory School, Omaha, NE
Subject: Art
Fun Fact: I took piano lessons for five years as a child, and still love to play pieces from time to time.

Laura Dickey: Benedictine College

"My second grade and now my third grade class have confirmed my decision to join Magis. I became really close to this class and have the privilege of teaching them again this year. They taught me how to be a better teacher, and I am their biggest cheerleader."

"I decided to join Magis because of the sincere desire to serve a school community that needed me. It may sound selfish, but what I mean by that statement is serving others who cannot pay me back brings true joy to myself as a teacher but also an individual."

Cohort: 14
Placement: Sts. Peter and Paul, Omaha, NE
Subject: 3rd grade
Fun Fact: One fun fact about me is my love for dogs. I love being around dogs, and it seems they like to be around me. One day I hope to train therapy dogs for students in need.

Shamir Brice: John Carroll University

"This past year has challenged me as a teacher, student, and person. I have been challenged and nurtured to grow from my students, professors, and my school's faculty and staff. Everyday, I learn more about myself and my abilities, which is incredibly affirming to me."

"Growing community during the summer has been one of the best experiences of my life. Last summer, Cohorts 13 and 14 got to know each by exploring Omaha, the Niabrara River, and Fremont Lake. Each summer, people slowly grow more and more comfortable with each other. By the end of the summer, I have made friendships and relationships that will last a lifetime!"

Cohort: 14
Placement: Ascension Catholic High School, Twin Cities, MN
Subject: History
Fun Fact:I have seen Cher, Madonna, Beyonce, and Aretha Franklin in concert!

Emily Carter: Benedictine College

"When teaching middle schoolers there is never a dull day. Back in December of last year, fellow Magis teacher, Theresa Kinyon, and I made the crazy commitment of extending our time with middle schoolers by staying up all night to help supervise the 6th grade lock-in. The purpose of the lock-in was to raise money for the 8th grade trip to Washington, D.C. and in that way we were able to rationalize our commitment. The night consisted of dancing, playing energy-draining games like tag, drinking lots of caffeine, watching a movie and finally eating a pancake breakfast before releasing them back to their parents. While I appreciated the opportunity to spend time with my sixth graders outside of class, I was never more happy than when the parents for the last 6th grader finally showed up. Being a middle school teacher is always an adventure."

"I decided to join Magis Catholic Teacher Corps because I wanted to share my passion for Spanish with others and I felt like the three pillars of Magis best fit what I was seeking. Being able to share the joys and trials of first-year teaching with others in community strongly appealed to me as well as the opportunity to grow in my faith through Ignatian Spirituality."

Cohort: 14
Placement: St. Wenceslaus, Omaha, NE
Subject: Spanish
Fun fact: My fun fact is that I can juggle.

Drew Wilson: Creighton University

"I love how each person has something unique to offer to the community. It really doesn't matter where you are from, where you previously went to school, what your subject of expertise is, or even what kind of personality you have; everyone is accepted for who they are in the Magis community, and we all share a desire to become effective and supportive educators in areas that need us most."

"Anyone who values community, mentorship, education, and mission-based service will find great value in the Magis program. Magis provides a great way to be exposed to a career in education, to pursue a graduate degree, and to make lifelong friends."

Cohort: 15
Placement: St. Anthony High School, Milwaukee, WI
Subject: Social Studies and Religious Education
Fun fact: I am a distant relative of the last High King of Ireland, Brian Boru

Valerie Morel: Michigan State University

"One of my favorite parts of my first year was coaching Girls on the Run, an after school running program for 3rd-5th grade girls. It gave me an opportunity to get to know more students and families outside of the middle school while also doing something I love. It was fun watching the girls become more confident throughout the season as they learned more about healthy habits and trained for the end-of-season 5k."

"One of the best parts of Magis summers has been the Taco Ride in Iowa on Thursday nights. A mix of first and second years bike 10 miles to a steakhouse-turned-taco stop and partake in food, drinks, live music, and dancing. And then we bike 10 miles back. It has been something we look forward to and a great way to mix the cohorts."

Cohort: 14
Placement: Risen Christ School, Twin Cities, MN
Subject: Biology
Fun fact: If I could have any pet, it would be a baby giraffe.

Amanda Alvarado: Creighton University

"Magis is dedicated to the Jesuit tradition and guides us to be agents of change in this world as teachers. Magis is intentional about creating strong and supportive relationships with our communities, as we become teachers."

"I wanted to be a part of something bigger while I started my teaching career and further my own education. I also wanted to surround myself with people who share a similar passion."

Cohort: 15
Placement: Sts. Peter and Paul, Omaha, NE
Subject: 1st Grade
Fun fact: My junior year of high school I thought I wanted to be a firefighter, so I went to a week- long firefighter camp for women.

Anna Weirick: Creighton University

"There was just a wonderful feeling of contentment when I said yes to Magis. The combination of education and community met the needs for what I was looking for in a post-grad program. I am excited for the adventure to come in the next two years!"

"The best part of the community so far is the laughter. The conversations are always filled with so much joy and laughter which makes all feel included and welcomed in the community."

Cohort: 15
Placement: Red Cloud High School
Subject: Spiritual Formation
Fun fact: I attended finale for the 2015 Women's World Cup in Canada.

Lizzie McLaren: Creighton University

"Choosing Magis is choosing to challenge yourself to grow. It's not just about getting through classes and getting your masters degree, but sharing in community life, beginning your role as an educator, and living intentionally."

"I'm around really wonderful, like-minded people. We all have different backgrounds, but this desire for servant leadership through teaching brings us together. We also laugh a LOT - there's joy when people come together."

Cohort: 15
Placement: Notre Dame Academy, Milwaukee, WI
Subject: Language Arts
Fun fact: One of my life goals is to illustrate a children's book.

Chris Smith: Creighton University

"I joined Magis because of my passion for Catholic education and learning. I am drawn to the community in Catholic schools and the ability to pursue some of my other interests such as coaching and campus ministry."

"I love the people and all the laughter that we have shared. In addition I enjoy intentionally sharing meals with each other. We also have a lot of fun playing games of soccer, frisbee, and spikeball."

Cohort: 15
Placement: Red Cloud High School
Subject: Science
Fun fact: I have a beta fish named McBuckets.

Isabel Utschig: Marquette University

"I love the spontaneity of the community. I think this is only successful because each member of the community is genuinely interested in experiencing joy with each other: the actual activity becomes subsidiary."

"I joined Magis to be trained how to be a Catholic school teacher in the Jesuit tradition. I am interested in sharing my love of biology with students to guide them in their intellectual formation, but also desire to help students discern their own guiding values and ethical framework while sharing my own love of the Catholic faith."

Cohort: 15
Placement: Dominican High School, Milwuakee, WI
Subject: Science
Fun fact: I enjoy painting (in actuality, mixing colors around)

John Hughes: Seton Hall University

"[Magis teachers] look for ways to help each other, whether it is letting you teach them a lesson you've created for a class or proofreading your paper. Everybody's willing to try experience new things and experience others' interests. Best of all, people are willing to challenge you to step outside your comfort zone and contribute the best you can to your community."

"Magis gives you several years after college to discern God's will in your life. You get to grow professionally, spiritually, and physically stronger with people from different backgrounds that are also finding God in all things."

Cohort: 15
Placement: St. Catherine-St. Mary’s High School
Subject: Social Studies
Fun fact: I've been to 14 Major League Baseball Stadiums, with the goal of visiting each team's ballpark in my lifetime.

Katie Taylor: University of Notre Dame

“I want to teach and I was inspired by the method, community, and spirituality of Magis. I want to work for social justice and I think education and the Magis method is the best way to do that right now.”

“It's an amazing and supportive community through a time of growth. It's an experience that will help you appreciate education and its importance in the world.”

Cohort: 15
Placement: Red Cloud High School,
Subject: Social Studies
Fun fact: In third grade I taught a classroom of peers the best way to pack a backpack.

Theresa Kinyon: The Catholic University of America

"God has blessed me abundantly and calls me to use of the gifts I have been given. Magis allows me to make full use of the talents I have been given though planning, teaching, and interacting with my students and my community."

"The first year of teaching is tremendously difficult, but a tremendously worthwhile experience. Magis gave me the tools, support, and advocacy I needed to make my first year as successful as possible. Furthermore, Magis challenges me to become the best teacher I can be and never settle for 'good enough.'"

Cohort: 14
Placement: St. Anthony Middle School, Milwaukee, WI
Subject: History
Fun fact: My three favorite things in the whole world are fireworks, sunflowers, and goats (in that order).

Amanda Master: Valparaiso University

“For a lesson on surrealism, I was showing students a painting where a woman was standing over a life-sized puzzle, and it appeared as though she was part of the puzzle's scene. When describing the picture, I kept using the word "puzle" which I had learned from my host family in Spain. My students began laughing and insisted that "rompecabezas" (head-breaker) was the more appropriate word to use to describe a puzzle. Authentic and organic learning followed as we discussed what both words implied and how regional dialects of Spanish used different words to describe the same thing. And we all had a good laugh, too!”

"Being supported by other first year teachers during my first year teaching confirmed my decision to join Magis. My community members were going through many of the same difficulties I was facing, and instead of pitying one another, we laughed our way through common mistakes and were one another's cheerleaders in tough times. I have been so blessed this year."

Cohort: 14
Placement: St. Anthony High School, Milwaukee, WI
Subject: Spanish
Fun fact: I love going to the drive-in movie theater.

Maureen Snook: Sampson College

"I love the automatic family and support that is created in community. Everyone is so open and willing to connect. There is always someone to hang out and have fun with."

"On the first Friday seminar we all went out to Camp Carol Joy Holling and participated in team building and various ropes course activities. This was a great day because it allowed us to work with members of the cohort that we hadn't previously and create a great sense of camaraderie. I was also able to push myself on an individual basis. I was able to complete all of the high ropes challenges which felt amazing. That week as a whole was a high point in the summer because I made great friends, grew in faith and self-confidence, and had a ton of fun."

Cohort: 15
Placement: Holy Name Catholic School, Omaha, NE
Subject: Language Arts
Fun fact: I have two middle names: Elizabeth Lillian.

Rob Ruginis: Catholic University of America

"I knew I wanted to teach in a Catholic school and really wanted to live in community with other new teachers. Magis stood out to me over the other UCCE programs because of the degree opportunities it offered for teachers who already had a background in education."

"My community and school placement have definitely confirmed my decision to choose Magis. My community has shown love and support through difficult times and has had a lot of fun on the way. My school has been incredibly welcoming and has really become an extension of my Magis family."

Cohort: 14
Placement: Cristo Rey Jesuit, Minneapolis, MN
Subject: Math
Fun Fact: I went two full years without seeing my chin (because of my beard).

Megan Kristo: University of Nebraska –Lincoln

"Magis means the More in latin, as in what more can you do for Christ. I felt the call to serve the underprivileged students of America through education. Magis allows me to use my education as my vocation serving my students with Cura Personalis."

"Post graduation is a hard adjustment we have to make. Magis provides a great sense of community for everyone who is involved. Being a first year teacher and living with people who are experiencing the same difficulties, understanding how I feel is not something that commonly occurs. We all see the same vision and mission these next two years."

Cohort: 15
Placement: St. Augustine Indian Mission, Sioux City, IA
Subject: Social Studies
Fun fact: I love to do anything outside including soccer, running, hiking, etc.

Kyle Marugg: Loras College

"I was looking for a job after [undergrad] that would allow me to grow in my spirituality, live in a community, and start teaching. Through the three components of Magis: spirituality, community, and professional development, I am able to do all three."

"Everyone takes their teacher mindset and brings it to the community as well. We are all so supportive of one another and help each other out when need be, just as a teacher would do in a classroom. We understand that teaching others and learning from others extends far beyond the classroom."

Cohort:15
Placement: Gehlen Catholic High School, Sioux City, IA
Subject: Spanish
Fun fact: Although I'm a Spanish teacher for Magis, I'm also licensed to teach mathematics.