Katie McSherry Profile
Q. When did you graduate? What was your concentration? Minor?
A. I graduated in 2008. My major was English (Theatre concentration) Education with a Music minor. I was a vocal music scholarship recipient.
Q. What is your position now?
A. My official title is Department Chair of Theatre and Music AND resident Artistic Director at the Academy of the Holy Angels in Demarest, NJ. It is a private, Catholic, all-girls high school in Bergen County NJ. I am also currently in the middle of my MA in Educational Theatre in Colleges and Communities at NYU.
Q. How did being an English major at Marist help prepare you for this position?
A. My English major prepared me for this position because it made me familiar with many pieces of dramatic literature, as well as many Theatre Arts classes. Taking the “theatre track” in the English department was very beneficial because what I really wanted to teach was Theatre, but there are not many schools that offer full-time Theatre positions. Being able to have an English degree really helped me to get my foot in the door—I was first an English teacher and then morphed into a full-time Theatre teacher and director.
Q. Which professors or particular classes helped prepare you for your current position?
A. While at Marist, I took many classes with Dr. Eileen Curley. She was both the toughest and the most amazing teacher that I have ever had. She taught the majority of the Dramatic Literature courses, and her style of teaching was so engaging, that I have modeled many of my classroom structures from her lessons. I have kept in touch with her since my graduation, and she has been very active in helping me to achieve my goals.
Q. What do you wish you had known as an undergraduate?
A. When I was an undergraduate at Marist, I wish I had known that I wanted to be a teacher sooner! I began Marist as a Communications major, but after a year and a half, I realized that I didn't have any desire to be in the Communications field. The good news, though, was that the people in the English Department were so amazingly helpful! They worked with me to make sure that even with starting in the major behind schedule, I was able to graduate on time.
Q. What is your career goal?
A. My career goal is actually what I am currently doing! I always dreamed of being a Theatre teacher and director, but I was not sure that it was something that I would be able to achieve. Theatre teaching jobs are few and far between, so I had basically resigned myself to being an English teacher who would incorporate theatre practices in my classroom. Fate, luckily, was on my side and I am in charge of designing the Performing Arts curriculum for my school, as well as conceptualizing and directing all of the performances. It really is a dream come true.
Q. What is the most interesting thing about your position?
A. The most interesting thing about my current position is that, because I teach high school girls, I am constantly telling them to apply to Marist for their college experience. I have a big Marist flag hanging up in my classroom, and every student knows that I am the one to go to for Marist advice. My time as a Red Fox was very influential on my life, and has obviously helped me to achieve my career goals, so I want that for all of my students, as well. Being a teacher is a very humble job, but I hope that in some way I am making a big impact on the future through Theatre Education.