BEHIND THE SCENES AT KOLBE: Meet the Dean (Grades 6-8)
Kolbe Academy is proud to have such a talented and hardworking team helping us serve our families. Today we want to highlight and introduce our Dean of Students for Grades 6-8, Mrs. Elizabeth Hoxie.
Mrs. Hoxie lives with her husband and five kids in Juneau, AK - one of the most beautiful places on Earth! A typical day in the Hoxie household might include a bear sighting out the back window and a bike ride to the nearby glacier. The Hoxie’s are a military family and move every few years. Just since Mrs. Hoxie started teaching for Kolbe, the family has moved six times! During one particularly crazy move, Mrs. Hoxie taught biology class sitting in an (empty) bathtub of a hotel room because it was the quietest place she could find. Mrs. Hoxie and her husband homeschool their kiddos and it is a joy to share the experience of home education with Kolbe students and their parents.
Mrs. Hoxie joined Kolbe Academy nine years ago and has worn many hats since then! She has taught Earth science, core and honors biology, biology lab, health, and theology 9 and was the acting science department chair for five years. She also enjoys sharing her passion for kitchen science with the culinary science club and summer baking camps. Mrs. Hoxie now serves as the Dean for Grades 6-8 and is privileged to advocate for middle school students and their families. One of the things Mrs. Hoxie loves best about Kolbe Academy is our Ignatian identity and approach to education which emphasizes the dignity and goodness of the whole person and places anything and everything that we do at the service of God.
We sat down for a Q&A session to get to know Mrs. Hoxie a little bit better…
What is your favorite part about working at Kolbe Academy?
Hands down, my favorite part of Kolbe is our incredible students and their equally incredible families. I thank God daily for the privilege of partnering with our Kolbe parents in the great task of education.
What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
Having five kids with very unique personalities has really expanded my interests! Since free time is hard to come by these days, I most enjoy spending time doing whatever my family loves which is everything from snowboarding to hiking to painting. And of course, I love to bake! It has been a joy getting to share that hobby with students in the culinary science club and the baking summer camps.
Who is your patron or favorite saint and why?
Another tough question! Cultivating heavenly friendships is such a beautiful part of our Faith and I have found different intercessors (or maybe they found me!) for different seasons of life. I would say that my top 5 Saints are St. Ignatius of Loyola, St. Francis de Sales, St. John Chrysostom, St. Joseph, and of course, our Blessed Mother. St. Joseph has really come through for us in big and small ways so many times through all our moves that I could write a book! Our family also prays for the intercession of our three little ones in heaven -- Francis, Sebastian, and Clare.
What are you most proud of about your time in Kolbe Academy or what is a favorite memory with Kolbe?
It is such a privilege to share in the joys and successes of our students. Every time a student emails me to say that they won a swim meet or got into their top choice for college or brought their English grade up a letter grade, I pray in thanksgiving for them. I had the opportunity to travel to Kolbe's in-person graduation this year, and that was an incredible experience. The whole weekend, I kept thinking of Philippians 1:6: "I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work in you will continue to complete it until the day of Christ Jesus." I love standing as witness to the "good work" the Lord begins in each of our students' lives and watching them grow and flourish in His Grace.
How has your faith impacted your education, or how has your education impacted your faith?
Oh geez. How long have you got? My students will attest that this is a dangerous question to ask because the relationship between Faith and reason, and Faith and science are near and dear to my heart. The short version is that I pursued dual majors in biology and Catholic theology and that really set the trajectory for my faith life and my professional pursuits. One of the greatest riches of our Faith is that it is eminently reasonable. I tell my students to embrace scholarship and pursue their academic interests without fear because the pursuit of Truth in any discipline will ultimately always lead us to God.
What is a fun fact about yourself?
The average human body is 60% water, but Mrs. Hoxie's is at least 30% coffee. Kidding...kind of!
How do you begin your workday each morning?
Alaska is 4 hours behind the East Coast, so on mornings when I am teaching a first-period class (4:30 am) my first stop is the button on the coffee machine! I try to begin every day in the Scripture -- usually the readings for the day -- to make sure that I have given the first 10 minutes of my day to listening to the Lord even if the rest of the day is total chaos. It doesn't always happen, but I feel my best when I am able to squeeze in a morning workout too!
Do you have a special inspiration, prayer, or quote to inspire you?
It is hard to pick one, but the quote in my signature line is one I have returned to many times: "You learn to speak by speaking, to study by studying, to run by running, to work by working; and in the same way, you learn to love by loving." St. Francis de Sales
I think we sometimes compare ourselves to others we think of as smarter or more athletic or holier and get discouraged, but all the Lord asks of us is that we just keep showing up -- keep studying, running, and most of all, loving.
If you could make up a fun name for your job or to describe you, what would it be?
There was a wonderful letter written by St. John Paul II to a friend of his -- a mother of young children -- and he talked about how parents often live in the "kingdom of irrationality" while their children are young. If I could pick a title, I would love to be Queen of the Kingdom of Irrationality!
Thank you, Mrs. Hoxie, for your service and dedication to Kolbe families and students. May the Lord bless you and your family… and all those living in the “Kingdom of Irrationality” alongside you.
Join us as we continue the Behind-the-Scenes Spotlight series this summer. Up next, we will be getting to know some of our Department Chairs!
Mary, our mother, pray for us.
Saint Maximillian Kolbe, pray for us.