As another fantastic year at Jesuit ends, and the seniors go off to college, the school must sadly say goodbye to one of its most impactful teachers, Mrs. Kathy Bean. Mrs. Bean fundamentally created the current statistics program at Jesuit, but she has also left her mark outside of the classroom through her exemplary involvement in community service. Fully committing to the Ignatian model of a teacher, Mrs. Bean leaves behind a venerable body of work at Jesuit, with 16 years of teaching under her belt.
Leaving an impact on not only the school but also her co-workers, dear friend and fellow math teacher Mrs. Anne Blackford noted that, “When I met [Bean], my first thought was ‘My goodness she’s tall!’ And after all these years, I must say Kathy is a model for how to be an Ignatian educator. She has embraced community service and she’s been more than just a cog in the wheel, she is the motor behind that wheel.”
Commenting on her impact through community service, Blackford continued, “[Mrs. Bean] has been in the Kairos program serving as a leader practically since it started here. And I was lucky enough to be on a retreat with her this year…It was really a wonderful experience.”
Also expressing immeasurable thanks to Mrs. Bean, Mr. Rich Perry looked at her accomplishments, specifically in his field of community service, and said: “She’s very involved in community service. She has been so instrumental in every step of our program over approximately 15 years. She’s been involved even longer than I have.”
Listing out ways that she helps, Perry told The Roundup that Mrs. Bean “does agency visits on Wednesday mornings, she checks in the senior class, does the attendance, and does record keeping that is painstakingly detailed. She’s a very effective communicator and communicates with the adult team for the social justice course each week. She also has been our main moderator for the social justice drama troupe, which does performances at both catholic and public schools around the metroplex to promote social justice themes like anti-bullying and positive self-image. She also has a passion for special education and has been the leader of our Cook Crew operation. Every single Special Games, every year, I can count on Mrs. Bean to gather a team of guys who’re going to be effective leaders and get that food ready to serve to a thousand people every Special Games.”
When looking at Mrs. Bean, Mr. Perry sees that she is “someone with limitless energy, she’s resourceful, and she is the quintessential team player.”
Although Mrs. Bean is leaving her job at Jesuit, she is not just hanging the rest of the faculty out to dry. Perry continued to say, “While we are all going to miss Mrs. Bean, we know that she’s leaving us in very good shape by helping us to transition now. Also, she intends to come back occasionally and do some volunteer work, and I am glad to have her come back a few times a year and help us with some of our social justice events. She may not be teaching, but she’s very much a member of our community. And when you are a part of the Jesuit community, you never really leave.”
Giving some final words to Bean, Perry said, “I would like to thank Mrs. Bean for being a very effective non-profit agency relationship builder. She is the one who connected us, through her church, with the Mount Olive Food Pantry, located near Fair Park. And now we have a lot of programs at Mount Olive, serving food to those who need supplemental food supplies and also to those who need snack packs and lunches because they are living on the streets. She connected us to that organization, which is a very strong relationship that we’ve now had for 9 years.”
Praising the remarkable achievements of Mrs. Bean, Principal Tom Garrison stated, “She really built the statistics program here; that’s her. We did not offer statistics before she got here…She’s been this integral figure in the Math Department for as long as she’s been here.”
Echoing Mr. Perry’s point, Garrison continued, “When you watch [her] teach, there’s energy, enjoyment, passion, and a response from students.”
On her final day of teaching at Jesuit, The Roundup’s Thomas Whitaker ’17 was able to interview Mrs. Bean to talk about her fantastic 41 years of teaching.
TW: What will you miss most about teaching at Jesuit, specifically?
Mrs. Bean: The special events. I will miss Community Days, I will miss going on the Kairos Retreat, I will miss Special Games because I didn’t get events like that at any other place. Public school did not do things like that. Prom and other normal events are fun, but it’s the special events specific to Jesuit that I’ll miss most.
TW: Do you feel like you really got into community service once you started teaching at Jesuit?
Mrs. Bean: Absolutely. Community service was not a big thing at my previous school. It wasn’t a requirement. When I came to Jesuit, I taught two Algebra II classes and two Statistics classes, but on Wednesdays the statistics classes didn’t meet, because they’re seniors. So, on Wednesday mornings, I asked Father Martinez if I could help with the community service and I slowly got into it, and even got a medal from Fr. Martinez in 2004 for community service, an Ad Astra. He gave me a prize and I was hooked. And ever since then, I’ve been working with Martinez and now Mr. Perry
TW: What would you say your fondest memory from your time at Jesuit is?
Mrs. Bean: Okay. One of the things that I miss that we don’t do anymore is the Jesuit Palooza. We had special games in the morning and we would build a stage by the baseball field. And we had a battle of the bands between the students. And everyone would just spread their blankets out and have a barbecue all day long, listening to the kids play. We didn’t leave until like 11 o’clock at night. Eventually, we started to just do it in front of the Terry Center, but we got noise and lights complaints from the neighbors. But it would be so fun to just lay out on a blanket and listen to music all day long. I miss it.
TW: If you could go back in time and tell yourself something on your first day of teaching, what would it be?
Mrs. Bean: Not to be as anxious and worried as I was. One thing I found at Jesuit that I didn’t have at public school was the lack of anxiety of a class turning out okay. Things are going to be fine. I have faith in God and it’s all going to work out. I didn’t have that at public school. I knew I would have brighter kids, but the community that we have here was foreign to me. Apparently, when I first got started, the kids called me “The Machine,” because I went into class with my game plan and nothing was going to deter me. But as I taught here more and more, I realized that even if I don’t finish my game plan, things are going to be fine. I just wish I had known that at the beginning.
TW: How do you feel that Jesuit has impacted you?
Mrs. Bean: My faith life. To be able to be not just a Sunday Christian but to have my faith with me all week long. We start every one of my classes with a prayer, and I ask the kids, “What do we need to pray for today?” and then I craft a prayer. I couldn’t have been able to do that when I started, there’s no way I could have even read a prayer at the beginning of class because I was so used to public school. You were not supposed to share your faith in the classroom at all. My faith life has just skyrocketed since I’ve been here.
TW: How do you think that you have impacted Jesuit?
Mrs. Bean: There are two awards that I’ve received. I earned the Cecil Green Award the year that Mrs. Mattachionne and I completely redid the statistics program. We threw out the old textbook, we came up with our own topics and worksheets and so forth and she got the Creativity Award and I got the Math and Science Award that year. I thought that I would just leave the statistics program to her, but since we are both leaving this year, I’m leaving floor plans so statistics won’t die after we leave. I’m making sure that there’s going to be Statistics and AP Statistics next year.
TW: Do you have any final words of parting to Jesuit?
Mrs. Bean: I would say you all should be grateful for how good you’ve got it. If you’ve never been to a public school, you don’t know how truly great Jesuit is, so just be grateful.