Staff Member: Alyssa Roper
St. Michael Academy Preschool is pleased to welcome our new Director, Alyssa Roper. Although Alyssa is new to this role, she is already a very familiar face at the preschool. Bringing her 15 years of teaching experience at St. Michael Academy to the Director position, Alyssa is excited to see what this next step in her journey with the school will bring!
Alyssa began teaching music at St. Michael Academy the same year that she enrolled her oldest son in the preschool. After two years of music instruction, she moved into the 4-year-old classroom, where she taught for another 13 years. The strong sense of community shared by the teachers, students and families has made the school feel like a second home.
“I truly love my job,” she says. “I love working with the children and the staff. If you look down the roster, you’ll see that most of the staff have been here as long as I have, and some even longer. All of the teachers are very close, and I feel like the teachers have that same bond with the families because it is a parish ministry, so we cater to that and try to develop those relationships with the parish families. The school really is like a family.” Having taught in the classroom for so many years, personal interaction with the students is still a top priority for Alyssa. She is present for the drop-off and pick-up of children each day, and pops into the classrooms several times throughout the day to say "hello" to everyone. “My favorite thing about being at the school is working with the children,” she says. “I leave every day feeling joy after being with them all day and knowing that hopefully I made a difference in their life just in that short time. It’s hard to describe — it just fulfills me.”
St. Michael Academy serves children ages 12 months to five years, providing them with the opportunity to learn through play in a structured setting. In addition to the usual academic subjects, students also receive hands-on instruction in music, Spanish and sign language. And of course, as a parish ministry, the preschool places a strong emphasis on the children’s early formation in the faith. “We teach religion and go to chapel once a week, where we read the Bible stories and learn the fundamentals [of the faith],” Alyssa says. “As a Catholic, that is very important to me personally. I feel like those religious fundamentals are just as important as the academic ones. I think a love of Jesus begins immediately, and the children love it and understand it. For many of them, their favorite part of the week is going to chapel.”
Although Alyssa’s first career was in public relations, her love of children and education go back many years to when she helped put herself through college by teaching private swim lessons. Now, with 15 years of teaching under her belt, she is thrilled to be embarking on this new journey as director of St. Michael Academy. Reflecting on the path that brought her to this role, she can see the Lord’s plan at work.
“Here is a fun fact — when I was in high school, my mother was the religious education secretary, so I spent a lot of time here helping and volunteering,” Alyssa says. “She sat in the same office where I am now. It’s come full circle, which is really neat. I think about that a lot when I’m here. God definitely works in mysterious ways!”