Teachers foster connections, encourage students’ hearts

Educators marking 25 years of service in Catholic schools of the Denver Archdiocese are profiled below.

MaryJeanne DeMarie_25_St. Mary AcademyMary-Jeanne DeMarie
St. Mary’s Academy, Englewood

In 25 years teaching at Catholic schools, Mary-Jeanne DeMarie, has worked to help every student believe that he or she can be a successful language learner.

“Long after the classroom experience is over,” she said, “there are still unlimited opportunities to be active readers and speakers of French and Spanish.”

For the last 12 years she has taught High School World Languages at St. Mary’s Academy in Englewood. Prior to that, she taught at Regis Jesuit High School nine years, Bishop Machebeuf High School for a year and St. Vincent de Paul School for three.

She holds a bachelor’s degree from State University College at Buffalo, and a master’s in education from State University of New York at Buffalo.

Paulette Evans_25_MPBPaulette Evans
Most Precious Blood School, Denver

Paulette Evans has taught students in a diverse amount of settings and schools.

She’s taught in England and in the United States in Alabama and Denver in both public and private schools. Her career path led her to Most Precious Blood School, where she’s taught for more than 20 years.

Her career began after graduating from Colorado State University in Fort Collins when she taught seventh-grade through ninth-grade students at Thomas Jefferson High School and then Hamilton Junior High.

“Choosing to be a teacher was a natural choice,” she said.

After taking a break to raise her daughters, Evans said she “longed to be back in the classroom sharing my love of English and literature.”

Her search for a new school ended at Most Precious Blood, which she’s come to see as an extension of her family. It’s been a rewarding and invigorating experience, she said.

“It is a community that supports and encourages each person to become the best that they can be,” Evans said. “Being able to share my life and teaching with this community has made this second stage of my career a wonderful, growing and challenging experience.”

WoodyGreen_25_NativityJoseph “Woody” Green
Nativity of Our Lord School, Broomfield

Woody Green said education is more than test scores. The whole child’s spiritual, intellectual, emotional and physical development should be considered equally important.

Green has spent 25 years focusing on physical education at Nativity of Our Lord School in Broomfield.

“My goal is to have the kids find something activity-wise they will do the rest of their lives so they can stay healthy and have a good outlet,” he said.

Green earned his bachelor’s degree in environmental conservation and a second bachelor’s degree in physical education.  He is married to Lorraine who teaches music part-time at Nativity.

He began coaching at Casey Junior High and later at Fairview and Centaurus high schools before joining Nativity. He was the athletic director for 10 years and is now the cross-country coach.

Green credits the family atmosphere at Nativity as the reason he has stayed for 25 years.

“Everyone looks out for each other,” he said of the school. “We all share the same values and concerns. We’re all pretty close.”

Sydney Timme_25_Regis Jesuit HSSydney Timme
Regis Jesuit High School, Aurora

For 25 years Sydney Timme’s educational philosophy has been to “foster connection, encourage the hearts of my students, and recognize the divine in all things.”

Timme has been teaching English, music and physical education at Regis Jesuit High School in the boys division since 1996. Prior to Regis Jesuit, she taught music and English at St. Mary’s School from 1989 to 1996.

She holds a bachelor of science degree from the University of Colorado at Denver, and a master’s of education from Regis University.

Gayle JappGayle Japp
St. Anthony, Sterling

Gayle Japp, honored for a quarter-century in Catholic education, began teaching fifth grade at St. Anthony School in Sterling in 1989.

“Teaching here has been, and continues to be, a joy and a wonderful blessing in my life,” said the mother of two grown sons with her husband Roger.

Currently Japp’s two grandchildren attend St. Anthony’s. She holds a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from the University of Northern Colorado.

Natalie Travis_25Natalie Travis
St. Joseph, Fort Collins

Natalie Travis, a 25-year educator at St. Joseph School in Fort Collins, strives to educate students to become life-long learners while living the Gospel.

“I am very blessed to be a part of such a wonderful ministry,” she said of her role as a second-grade teacher.

She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Irvine, and Elementary Certification from the University of Northern Colorado. She has also earned catechetical certification, and loves sharing and living the faith with her students each day. Travis is married and the couple has three children, all have attended St. Joseph’s.

She enjoys reading, sports and spending time with her family.


COMING UP: On Fathers and Christian Masculinity

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The Year of St. Joseph points us to Jesus’ adoptive father, Joseph, as the essential model for fathers. Joseph not only manifests genuine masculinity, he also images God’s own fatherhood, as Pope Francis makes clear in his apostolic letter, Patris Corde: “In his relationship to Jesus, Joseph was the earthly shadow of the heavenly Father: he watched over him and protected him, never leaving him to go his own way.” Jesus, though the Son of God, obeyed Joseph, learned from him, and worked with him, acknowledging Joseph as a true expression of God’s own fatherhood.  

God does not just use fatherhood as an image of himself, because he himself is Father, even within his own triune life. Earthly fatherhood comes forth from him and should manifest his life and love. St. Paul speaks of honoring the “Father, from whom all fatherhood in heaven and on earth is named” (Eph 3:15). God wants everyone to be able to see his own fatherly love and called certain men to share in his own paternal gift of bringing forth life and caring for others. Every father is called to be liked Joseph, “an earthly shadow of the heavenly Father” for his own family. 

Our culture, however, often denigrates masculinity, sometimes viewing even its proper expressions as toxic. We too often see maleness in its fallenness — dominating and selfish — rather than showing self-sacrificial service. In fact, later in Ephesians, Paul speaks of the true vocation of the husband and father: “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her” (Eph 5:25). He also speaks of the role of fatherhood: “Do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Eph 6:4). Paul shows us the goal of fatherhood — sacrificing himself for the flourishing of the family by putting the good of his wife and children before his own desires.   

No matter what the contrary voices of our culture say, we need strong men and fathers. God created man and woman in complementarity, and they need each other to thrive, helping the other in relation to their own strengths and weaknesses. Children need the strong presence of a father to discipline and teach, as Paul reminds us. Study after study has shown that fathers have the largest impact on the faith of their children. Christian Smith explains in his sociological study, Young Catholic America, that “the faith of Catholic fathers is powerfully determinative of the future faith of their children (125). The same can be said for general wellbeing and success. When fathers are absent or refuse to exercise their role, a moral and spiritual vacuum appears. A strong majority of felons, for instance, grew up without fathers in the home.  

St. Joseph helps us to understand the strength of Christian fatherhood. First, like any good husband, Joseph listened — not just to his wife but also to God. Woken up frequently by angels, he demonstrated obedience and trust, quickly leaving everything behind to follow God’s instructions and to protect his family. We also know Joseph for his work as a carpenter and builder, content to live simply and to work hard. Importantly, he also taught Jesus how to work, showing that fathers model and teach by drawing their children into their life and work. And we can also learn from Joseph’s humility, serving the Incarnate God and his Mother without even a single recorded word in the Gospels.  

This humility points us to the essence of Christian fatherhood. Although living with two perfect people, Joseph was still called to lead. He quietly and humbly did what was needed for his family and taught his own maker how to share in his work. Fathers do not lead in order to be in charge or to get their own way. They lead because God asks them to care for and protect their families. Fathers and mothers share in the great and beautiful partnership of family life, although fathers cannot simply sit back and let mom take the lead in the spiritual life, as they are often tempted to do. Like Joseph, fathers should act firmly and lovingly to put God and the family before self, obeying God and leading the family in the right direction. They are called to model faith, work, and sacrifice to their children. 

On Father’s Day we can affirm that masculinity and fatherhood are not just good — they are essential to understanding God and his plan for human flourishing. If our culture turns around, it will be because, in large part, Christian men stand up and fight. As Christians, we cannot give in to the culture’s attempt to denigrate masculinity and fatherhood or to pit men and women against each other. We can use this celebration to affirm the essential role that our fathers play, leading their families like St. Joseph.