BEHIND THE SCENES AT KOLBE: Meet the Dean (Grades K-5)
Kolbe Academy is proud to have such a talented and hardworking team helping us serve our families. Today we wanted to take the opportunity to highlight and introduce our Dean of Students for Grades K-5, Mrs. Ashley Massey.
Mrs. Massey was homeschooled herself as a high school teen and is blessed to bring her love of at-home learning to support Kolbe Academy families. She has a B.A. in English, an M.A. in Pastoral Studies, and is currently pursuing her M.S. in Social Work. She has worked at both virtual and brick and mortal schools, and volunteers in several local ministries. The main goal of her life in her education, work, and married life is to strengthen the domestic church, that of the family unit. She has been with Kolbe Academy since Fall 2020, serving first as an Academic Advisor and Substitute Teacher. For the 2022-2023 school year, she will serve our families as the Dean of K-5 Students as well as a Family Advisor.
We sat down for a Q&A session to get to know Mrs. Massey a little bit better…
Where are you from and where do you call home today?
Both sets of my grandparents moved to Las Vegas in the late 1950's. I am the second generation to call Nevada home. I will be moving in the near future to Virginia where my husband was accepted into law school. I am excited to be living on another coast among more greenery.
What is your favorite part about working at Kolbe Academy?
The reason I work at Kolbe Academy is because its mission-driven nature focusing on supporting parents as the primary educators of their children coincides with my life mission to work towards strengthening families. Lumen Gentium reminded us of the term "domestic church" and the reality that the family is the domestic church, or the smallest group of Christians that belong to one another. It is in this the domestic church that children first learn about God, their faith, and the call on their life to personal holiness through witnessing the life their parents and extended family live in their day-to-day tasks. As I want to serve and strengthen families in my work, bringing my skills and talents to Kolbe Academy is a wonderful way to live out my personal mission.
What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
I play drums, appreciate learning through reading, and own over 1,000 books. I find kayaking and fishing are two of the most relaxing activities, and I also enjoy working on my car.
Who is your patron or favorite saint and why?
My patron and Confirmation saint is St. Brigid of Kildare. My Irish great grandma used to call me by the nickname Brigid. She passed away a few months before I was Confirmed. I chose St. Brigid of Kildare as my Confirmation saint as a way to honor my grandma and her Irish heritage. I believe St. Brigid, with my great grandma's nudging, chose me as she is a patron of school students, a population that I have worked in with almost all of my past jobs. St. Brigid inspires me to live out my call to holiness through her witness of being the sole, female Irish patron saint, the founder of monasteries and a school in Ireland, finding ways to be an example of Christ in a pagan culture, and bringing comfort and healing to others. My creativity, entrepreneurial spirit, desire to baptize culture, work with students and their families, and learning therapeutic practices to provide healing proves to me that it was really St. Brigid that chose me. It's almost as if St. Brigid knew that I would be in need of her intercession!
What is a fun fact about yourself?
I enjoy dancing! I used to take dance classes in middle and high school, and I particularly enjoy traditional ballroom dance styles. As an adult, I used to teach weekly Zumba classes for over 5 years.
How has your faith impacted your education, or how has your education impacted your faith?
In my childhood, I attended a Catholic parochial school where my aunt, mom, and grandfather worked. This school is attached to my home parish. In high school, I was homeschooled using a faith-based curriculum. As an adult, I have attended both secular and Catholic colleges and universities. Through ensuring that I spent my formative years having education and faith fully integrated, my parents built a strong foundation for me to continue to find ways to integrate my post-high school learning with my faith when this was no longer woven together by the schools I attended. It is important to view ourselves and others with a Christ-like lens, always looking for and bringing Truth to all areas of life, including that of education.
What has been your favorite place you’ve traveled to so far?
My sister and I backpacked a few years ago across Italy and Portugal, making pilgrimages to the Vatican and Fatima. When I have the opportunity to travel aboard, I plan on visiting these countries again. As a Catholic, these places allowed me to root myself more in the living history and traditions of our shared, Catholic faith.
What are you most proud of about your time in Kolbe Academy or what is a favorite memory with Kolbe?
Teaching the Homeroom 8 class of 2021-2022 was one of my most memorable experiences. The students in that class created a close bond between each other that was rooted in their love of learning, their faith, and their many hobbies. We had guest speakers attend class to discuss how these 8th graders could come up with ideas of how to live out their purpose and passion in life, all while being true to their faith. I will miss my first Homeroom 8 class!
Do you have a special inspiration, prayer or quote to inspire you?
Yes! I have a few… 1 Timothy 4:12: "Let no one despise your youth, but set the believers an example in speech and conduct, in love, in faith, in purity," and Exodus 14:14, "The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be still." St. Catherine of Siena (in similar words), “If you are what you should be, you will set the world ablaze.”
Thank you, Mrs. Massey, for your service and dedication to Kolbe families and students. May the Lord bless you as you continue your mission of strengthening the domestic church.
Join us as we continue the Behind the Scenes Spotlight series.
Mary, our Mother, pray for us.
Saint Maximillian Kolbe, pray for us.