This Student Spotlight features Mary Beth Lalka, a 2008 graduate of our Catholic School Leadership Program (M.Ed.). Mary Beth is originally from Buffalo, NY. After completing her undergraduate degree in psychology, she worked in a few different fields and settled on a job in a small Catholic high school. In order to become a certified teacher in NY, she needed to complete a Master’s program within seven years. To achieve this, she found Marymount University.
The Catholic School Leadership Program – also called Administration and Supervision (M.Ed.) – is designed to educate teachers to become principals in Catholic schools. The coursework is mostly online and the degree is approved by the Virginia Department of Education for licensure in Administration and Supervision, PK-12.
A couple of years ago, Mary Beth felt the calling to serve at the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity (SOLT) in Belcourt, ND on the Turtle Mountain Reservation. It didn’t take long for Mary Beth’s talent and knowledge to show themselves and in less than a year she became the new Principal of St. Ann’s Catholic School in 2021. Mary Beth recalls that “Marymount’s Catholic School Leadership program provided an excellent balance of professional development and formation to lead in a faith community.”
In her new role as Principal, Mary Beth strives to better understand and appreciate the history and culture of the Ojibwe and Michif people. The more she understands, the better she is able to teach the children, including celebrating and honoring the richness of their own culture. This process allows her to continue learning as an individual and to deepen her Catholic faith.
While Mary Beth never set out to become an educator, she followed God’s calling and has now been a teacher and leader for more than 25 years. She believes the program at Marymount prepared her to serve as a missionary and ultimately as Principal at St. Ann’s Catholic School.