BEHIND THE SCENES AT KOLBE: Madame Mammola
Kolbe Academy is proud to have such a talented and hardworking team helping us serve our families. Today we want to highlight Kolbe Department Chair for Foreign Languages and French teacher, Madame Jenni Mammola.
Mrs. Mammola has been with Kolbe since 2017. She has her B.A. in French and Journalism from Baylor University, and an M.A. in French from San Francisco State University. Jenni first fell in love with the French language in junior high, and knew it was her calling to pursue a lifelong study of the language and culture when she attended the Baylor in Paris undergrad study abroad program. From there, she spent time working in French immersion schools in the San Francisco Bay area while pursuing her Master’s degree. Since then, she has been blessed with many years of teaching French to high school and middle school students. She has taught French and Homeroom with Kolbe Academy, served as moderator of French Club, helped establish Kolbe’s NHS chapter, and will now serve as the Department Chair for Foreign Languages.
We sat down for a Q&A session to get to know Mrs. Mammola a little bit better…
How long have you been working at Kolbe Academy and what is your role here?
I have been working at Kolbe for six years as a French teacher. I was Kolbe’s first and only French teacher for five years, but thankfully this year we have a second French teacher joining us! I have also served in clubs, and this upcoming year will also serve as Kolbe’s Department Chair for Foreign Languages.
Where are you from and where do you call home today?
I was raised in Oklahoma, went to college in Texas, spent 17 years in California where I met my husband and had four kids, and now live in Tampa, FL.
What has been your favorite place you’ve traveled to so far?
France, of course, specifically, the Provence region. We stayed in an 18th century farmhouse and rented a car and drove all over the place. It was the stuff of dreams!
What is your favorite part about working at Kolbe Academy?
The students are my favorite part about working at Kolbe. Our students are excited to learn and so fun to teach. They let me share my passion for the French language and culture, they laugh at my jokes, sing along to my silly songs, and are always enthusiastic about learning new things.
Who is your patron or favorite saint and why?
I love Saint Patrick because I was born on St. Patrick’s day, but I also have a very dear place in my heart for St. Therese of Lisieux and her beautiful little way.
What are you most proud of about your time in Kolbe Academy or what is a favorite memory with Kolbe?
I am very proud of how the French program has grown. When I started, I had a handful of students in level one. Now I teach four levels of high school French and we have expanded into middle school French! In addition, French students who enjoy French tend to really love French and that makes it so fun for me as their teacher. The French Club has grown tremendously and the students are always asking me for more – more slang expressions, more recipes, more culture, etc! Some of my favorite memories are all of the performances the Club Français has done for Kolbe’s Got Talent and the Kolbe Christmas program.
What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
I love being outdoors with my family. In Tampa that usually means the beach! I also love exercise, cooking, keeping up with my French with music & films, and staring at beautiful home interiors online
How has your faith impacted your education, or how has your education impacted your faith?
I consider my study abroad experience in France during college as a significant factor in my conversion to the Catholic faith. I was raised Protestant, and when I spent those months in France the Lord awakened something new in me that I had not experienced before through the beautiful churches, the history, and the culture I discovered there. French history and culture are deeply rooted in the Catholic faith and this experience influenced me to investigate it further. Now as a Catholic mom and Catholic school teacher, I get to share all of this with my students and my own children.
What is a fun fact about yourself?
I was a Jazzercise instructor for a while. I grew up dancing. I danced for 18 years, so Jazzercise was a fun way to get some exercise as an adult that was sort of like dance.
How do you begin your workday each morning?
Usually in somewhat of a frenzy. My classes start right after I’ve dropped off my kids at school, so I grab some extra coffee and go!
Do you have a special inspiration, prayer or quote to inspire you?
“L’unique bonheur sur la terre, c’est de s’appliquer à toujours trouver délicieuse la part que Jésus nous donne” (“The only happiness on earth is to strive to always find the part that Jesus gives us delicious”)
– Saint Therese de Lisieux
If you could make up a fun, silly name to describe you, what would it be?
The Fabulous Francophile
Thank you, Mrs. Mammola, for your enthusiasm and dedication to our Kolbe families and students. May the Lord bless you and your family… and may we all share in the excitement of learning that you share with us!
Join us as we continue the Behind-the-Scenes Staff Spotlight series as we continue to get to know more of our Department Chairs!
Mary, our mother, pray for us.
Saint Maximillian Kolbe, pray for us.