Faculty Spotlight: Katherine Kelleher
by Serena Fernandopulle on Friday, December 11th, 2015
Katherine Kelleher grew up in Marshfield and attended Syracuse University. She studied magazine journalism and art history. After college she got a job at the Museum of Fine Arts for a couple years, then became an English teacher in Quincy. After five years she quit teaching and started working at an online art gallery in international sales and artist relations. She met her husband while working for this art gallery and got to travel the world, her childhood dream. After living in Dublin and Italy she came back to the Boston area to teach Spanish at Milton.
Where did you grow up?
I lived in Reading when I was really little before I moved to Marshfield and attended Marshfield High.
How did you start learning Spanish?
I loved Spanish in high school, and I had a chance to travel to Spain my junior year. It was a regular spring break school trip and we went to Madrid, Cordoba, Sevilla and Granada and I loved it. I loved that I could use my Spanish; I loved the culture, and I loved how we could go out. It was great! Then in my senior year, I went to Ecuador on a service trip with a group of kids from my school and church. That trip was amazing because we did some work with the community in a small town. Apart from the great learning experience, it was also really fun to be able to use my spanish and so I thought for sure I would travel abroad for college. Sadly, I had two majors and none of the classes that I would take in Madrid matched the courses I needed to take. So I said fine, if I can’t go during school because I want to graduate on time, I can go later.
What did you do before coming to Milton?
I got a job after school at the Museum of Fine Arts right away. I worked for the Director and had another job there for three years, but I felt like I really wanted to travel. So, I quit my job and decided to take a class on teaching English in foreign countries. Later that year, the daughter of my mom’s friend helped me settle into a job teaching at a Quincy school. I planned to stay there for one year but ended up teaching for five years at that school. I taught English for two years to a wide range of students. I taught anyone from toddlers to even business executives. After teaching I got a job at an art gallery, one of the first art startups. I worked in international sales and artist relations there. While I was doing that I met my husband who lived in Italy. After our wedding, we traveled around. We really liked Ireland so we lived in Dublin for a time and then went back to Italy. Then, we moved to the Boston area and I started teaching here.
Why do you teach?
I love Spanish and I think any language is life changing. [Language] changes the way you can see and interact with the world. It also changes the way you think and how you communicate with others. It enriches how we experience another culture. I am also a word nerd so it is fun to use strange ones everyday when I teach them.
What was your first impressions of Milton?
I grew up nearby and had even gone to a nerdy camp here when I was a kid but I didn’t know much about it other than that it was a good private school. I didn’t realize the richness of the diversity and experiences. My first impressions were how nice, welcoming, and committed the students were.
Who was your first friend at Milton?
In the beginning it was the other members of the foreign language department because they were so welcoming to me. I met with Ms. Thorp, Mr. Hamel, Mr. Connolly, and many others. They were all awesome and made me feel really excited to be here.
Do you have any memorable students?
I have had a lot of memorable experiences with students where I realize how important teachers can be for their students. Sometimes you may see that a student looks happy and great, but if you build a relationship you can see some problems they may be having if they come and share it with you. I have also had so many amazing students that make me laugh everyday when I come into class and that make my day brighter. I am really inspired by the bravery of my students and their interests and passions. I like working with high school kids because [their] goal is to enjoy everyday, and [they] are passionate and energetic. Often, if you work in a different field you meet many people who are burnt out and don’t like what they are doing.
Do you have any hobbies?
My main hobby is taking care of my little ones because I have a five year old and a two year old. Most of my time is teaching or hanging out with them. My husband also has a business, he does branding and design for start ups, so I guess it’s also my hobby to help him and strategize with him. I love baking and cooking, but my life is very different now that I have kids.
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