Teacher Feature

Teacher Feature # 2 - Mrs. Elizabeth Heath

     Mrs. Heath’s career path to Good Shepherd Catholic School is nothing less than the work of Divine Providence and within five minutes of meeting her, one notices her remarkable Catholic faith permeating both classroom and life. But teaching was not a clear career path and there were sacrifices made along the way.

     Originally an Education major with a minor in Psychology at Lyndon State College, from which she earned her Bachelor of Science in Human Services, she entered the mental health profession as a case manager. For eight years after college she worked at the Northeast Kingdom Human Services in St. Johnsbury, supporting individuals in the community who have severe mental illnesses; then as a substance abuse counselor at the BAART clinic which treats opioid addiction. Undeterred by the volume of human suffering which she experienced, she continued her academic formation with graduate studies leading to a Master’s in Mental Health Counseling. There was even a brief stint in there as a Head Start teacher. Then God intervened.

     At that time, her two daughters were students at Good Shepherd and Mrs. Heath loved her involvement as a parent with the school. One fateful day she was invited to consider being the 3rd and 4th Grade teacher, and with a leap of faith believing that this was God’s will for her, she changed directions and put her Education learning into use as an elementary school teacher. And God has blessed her ever since.

     Mrs. Heath enjoys this age group because her students are always curious and excited about everything. They love to learn and that makes her all the more excited to teach. And, she definitely puts her mental health training to good use. Her students experience empathy, structure, compassion and joy in her classroom as well as at her extracurricular involvement with Corpus Christi Parish and Good Shepherd Youth Groups and the Corpus Christi Totus Tuus summer catechetical week.

     Her favorite courses to teach in the 3rd and 4th Grade curriculum are Math and Religion. Her personal academic interests include the study of history, religion and historical fiction. Mrs. Heath states that Good Shepherd is a great school at which to start as a new teacher. The children here are well behaved, there is a very traditional educational structure of reading, writing, math and, not to mention, weekly Mass with the entire school at the parish church.

     The late Pope Benedict XVI stated: ““Educating, from the Latin educere, means leading young people to move beyond themselves and introducing them to reality, towards a fullness that leads to growth. This process is fostered by the encounter of two freedoms, that of adults and that of the young. It calls for responsibility on the part of the learners, who must be open to being led to the knowledge of reality, and on the part of educators, who must be ready to give of themselves. For this reason, today more than ever we need authentic witnesses, and not simply people who parcel out rules and facts; we need witnesses capable of seeing farther than others because their life is so much broader. A witness is someone who first lives the life that he proposes to others.”

     From the classroom to the youth groups, Mrs. Heath’s witness to her Catholic faith, her love for education and her students is God’s gift to Good Shepherd Catholic School.

Teacher Feature #1 - Mrs. Melissa Aiken

     Mrs. Aiken’s passion for English literature started at an early age. She pursued that passion as an English literature major at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, Florida, rated as one of the best colleges in the 2024 U.S. News and World Report of National Universities. As an undergraduate major taking courses in literary studies, literary theory, British lit , American lit, writing, rhetoric, and even Native American culture, she has, in more recent years, grown more enamored with the “classics” of American literature.

     Her English major eventually led her to Lyndon State College where she further pursued a teaching degree and licensure. Her teaching career has taken her to a wide array of educational settings, including: public, private and home school education. This well-rounded experience has contributed to her success as a confident and inspiring educator.

     Mrs. Aiken’s classroom is always abuzz as she shares her passion for her Humanities Course with the 5th and 6th Graders at Good Shepherd. Her academic interests (outside of Literature) involve American history, especially the Revolutionary War period and the patriotism of that period which undergirds American culture today.

     Mrs. Aiken’s concern for her students is palpable and their enthusiastic response matches her own. She explains that the classics of American literature “incorporate strong protagonists, morals and values, a strong desire for justice and for good to overcome evil. They stir the readers’ emotions, engross their minds and are often a catalyst to double-check one’s own standing and values. All of these are perfect teaching tools.”

     In the words of Pulitzer and Nobel Prize American writer John Steinbeck: “I have come to believe that a great teacher is a great artist and that there are as few as there are any other great artists. It might even be the greatest of the arts since the medium is the human mind and spirit.”

     From the classroom to the playground, Mrs. Aiken’s love for education and her students is God’s gift to Good Shepherd Catholic School.

What’s Coming Up?

May 27 - Memorial Day - No School

May 30 - Time TBD - 7th and 8th grade Shakespeare Festival

June 6 - 8:00am - Donuts for Dad @ GSCS

June 12 - Harvey's Lake Beach Day

June 12 - Last Day of School

June 14th - 7:00pm - Graduation @ St. John the Evangelist

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