St. Mary’s is a school known for the family atmosphere that is prevalent among its students, faculty, administration and alumni. No one knows that – or lives it –better than the Foleys.
Jackie (Rowley) Foley is a veteran educator at St. Mary’s who has taken over as dean of the Marian Division (grades 6-8). Her affiliation with St. Mary’s goes back to her grandmother, Catherine Callahan, who graduated in 1926, and her mother, Paula Doherty, a 1955 graduate.
After graduating from SMH in 1990 and Salem State University in 1994, Foley returned to St. Mary’s as a junior high teacher in 1998 and has never left. She taught English and religion for 15 years before being named to her current post over the summer.
“I’m very excited to have the opportunity to guide students and be part of their spiritual, physical and emotional growth for three years,” she said. “It is humbling.”
As a long-time teacher at the middle-school level, Foley appreciates the opportunities St. Mary’s Marian Division students have. “They have full access to all the facilities, yet they are separated to a degree,” she said. “It’s like they are getting the best of both worlds. And the older kids are fabulous with them when they do interact.”
St. Mary’s introduced a 1:1 iPad program as part of its Digital Citizenship Initiative this year, requiring all students in grades 6-12 to have their own iPad.
“This is the last backpack generation,” Foley said. “This is the way the world is going. To have this opportunity in grades 6-8 gives our students a leg up.”
It is very easy for Foley to feel at home at St. Mary’s, and not just because she is a third-generation graduate. Her husband, Jim, is in his 16th year of coaching girls soccer at the school, 15 as the varsity coach. Jim has also been an assistant coach on Jeff Newhall’s girls basketball staff since 2005.
Their twin daughters, Jenna and Erin, are seventh-graders at St. Mary’s, and Jenna is on the JV soccer team. (Another advantage of the Marian Division is that students are eligible to compete on high school teams.) Needless to say, the Foleys seemingly spend as much time on Tremont Street as they do at their Lynn home.
“Our daughters were always going to come here,” Jackie said. “Jim fell in love with the place since he has been coaching here and he bleeds blue and gold. The girls are really starting to feel the family connection. They’re proud that their parents are here, and we’re together a lot.”
Jim Foley knows his wife is a great fit for her new position. “Jackie has a great love for the school and she wants it to succeed,” he said. “They couldn’t have found a better person to do the job.”
Jackie Foley said her transition from teacher to administrator is going well. “Having been here for 15 years helps,” she said. “I think the families are comfortable with me. I hope I can show my love and passion for St. Mary’s and its mission. That means so much to me. It’s fabulous to be able to give back to the school. Everything about St. Mary’s is special.”