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Mother/daughter teacher pairs share family ties, passion for Catholic education

August 3, 2017
Across our 30 Catholic schools, there are several pairs of mothers and daughters who both are teachers, each with her own classroom.

Catholic schools in the Diocese of Grand Rapids partner with families to provide an outstanding education founded upon a relationship with Jesus Christ. The family connection is even found among our teachers! Across our 30 Catholic schools, there are several pairs of mothers and daughters who both are educators.

Three such pairs were represented at an August 3 professional development session with the Sophia Institute for Teachers (although one pair was represented only by the daughter). During a break in the day’s PD, they gave their perspective on what it’s like for mothers and daughters to share a passion for Catholic education.

Ms. Elizabeth West (pictured second from left) teaches 5th grade at Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Belmont and is entering her third year of teaching in a Catholic school. She said it’s great teaching in a Catholic school, just like her mom does. “We can bounce ideas off each other,” she explained.

Her mom agrees. “We have even more in common now; we can talk shop,” said Mrs. Traci West (pictured left). She’s the middle school math and 7th grade homeroom teacher at St. Patrick in Parnell. This will be her fifth year as a Catholic school teacher.

For some, there were hints daughter would follow mom’s career path. Ms. Maggie McCartney (pictured center) teaches 5th and 6th grades at St. Charles Borromeo in Greenville and is entering her fourth year teaching in a Catholic school.

“I’m the oldest of eight; I was always bossy and liked to tell my siblings what to do,” Ms. McCartney said, laughing. Her mother is Mrs. Sue McCartney (not pictured), the 5th grade teacher at St. Anthony of Padua in Grand Rapids.

A career in education definitely wasn’t an expectation, points out Mrs. Amy Giroux (pictured right). She’s been a Catholic school teacher for 20 years, teaches 7th grade at St. Mary’s in Spring Lake, and actually has two daughters teaching in or leading a local Catholic school.

“I just wanted her to do what God wanted,” Mrs. Giroux said of her daughter Mrs. Claire Farnquist (pictured second from right).

Mrs. Farnquist teaches middle school math and religion and 6th grade homeroom at All Saints Academy in Grand Rapids; she’s entering her fifth year as a Catholic school teacher. Her sister, Ms. Abby Giroux (not pictured), is ASA’s middle school principal and teaches 7th and 8th grade science. Mrs. Farnquist also talked about having been a student in her mom’s class.

“She was always harder on me, but classmates would say she gave me the answers,” Mrs. Farnquist said. “We’re colleagues now.”

In addition to family ties, it's clear these special teachers share a deep dedication to their students' faith and education.

The 30 Catholic schools in the Diocese of Grand Rapids are ready to partner with your family for a Christ-filled educational experience. Learn more about our schools at this link.