By JESSICA ABLE
Record Staff Writer
Laura Carby, Andrea Gordon Ruley and Katie Wetterer knew Dr. Beverly McAuliffe long before she became principal at Holy Family School.
Before the three teachers began their careers in education, they were students at Sacred Heart Academy during McAuliffe’s tenure as principal at the all-girls high school.
Now McAuliffe is again their principal. Only this time the trio is a part of the staff, not the student body.
“When we heard she would be the new principal, our expectations were pretty high. It also made us step it up,” said Ruley, a sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade language arts and religion teacher.
Carby, a third grade teacher, added that McAuliffe is “so well known throughout the archdiocese, her coming in (to Holy Family School) was a big deal.”
McAuliffe didn’t realize that three of the teachers on her new staff had previously been her students until she began to scan the names of staff after arriving at Holy Family.
McAuliffe, who has spent several decades as an educator and administrator in the Archdiocese of Louisville, said this school year marks the first time that she has worked with former students.
“It makes me proud,” she said. “I think being a teacher is the most fulfilling vocation.”
McAuliffe said she recalled that all three of the Sacred Heart graduates on her staff now were “wonderful students.”
“I remember Laura was this little, short blond girl with a beautiful smile and an upbeat personality,” she recalled.
And she remembers Wetterer as a student with a lot of self-discipline who was also a standout volleyball player.
McAuliffe lauds the three women as “rock solid teachers.”
“They run their classrooms very smoothly. … They are such fine teachers. I’m so proud of them because they are doing such a wonderful job,” she said.
McAuliffe noted that while she was at the helm of Sacred Heart Academy she was proud of the well-structured environment in classrooms there, and she sees these three teachers employing the same techniques at Holy Family.
“I see them asking the same of their students,” McAuliffe noted.
Carby, a 2006 Sacred Heart Academy graduate, remembers her time at Sacred Heart with McAuliffe fondly.
“If she (McAuliffe) ever saw you in the hallway, she was always kind enough to ask how your day was going,” said Carby, who has taught at Holy Family since 2010.
Wetterer, a 2005 Sacred Heart graduate, remembers McAuliffe’s Friday speeches.
“They were more like a pep talk for the weekend. They were about being good, respecting your parents, going to the church of your faith,” said Wetterer, who also began teaching at Holy Family in 2010.
Ruley, a 2003 graduate of Sacred Heart, also remembers the Friday talks.
“When we told people Dr. McAuliffe was coming (to Holy Family), they asked ‘I wonder if she’ll do the Friday talk,’ ” she said.
And she has, indeed, carried on the tradition.
“She’s adapted it to be relevant to younger students but it’s still about respecting your parents and being good,” Carby noted.
The Friday talks are not all McAuliffe has brought to Holy Family, the trio of teachers added.
“She brings a lot of new ideas. She brings some things she has done in high school and implements them in a way for elementary students. She is a smart, smart lady,” Carby said.
McAuliffe describes Holy Family School as a “hidden gem” noting that test scores at the elementary school are above average and that all of the teachers are “phenomenal.”
At Holy Family School, McAuliffe said, she has plans to “fix the building up a bit” and to uphold the school’s high academic standards.
“My job is to help teachers do their job any way I can,” she added.