Madeleine Post (’14) did not always envision herself as a school administrator thousands of miles away from home.
“In high school, I studied flute pretty intensely,” she says. “I always thought I would be a lover of music, and go to a conservatory.”
Now, however, Ms. Post finds herself in Erbil, Iraq as a senior administrator at the Chesterton Academy of St. Thomas the Apostle.
The Chesterton Academy schools, founded in 2007 to provide Catholic education for high schoolers in the United States, has been expanding internationally, and their new presence in Iraq was facilitated by Archbishop Warda of the Archdiocese of Erbil. Archbishop Warda joined the Academy to Mar Qardakh, one of the three Christian schools already in the diocese.
Ms. Post explains that she is good friends with Andrew Youngblood, who is the Director of Curriculum for the Chesterton Academy network.
“He asked me if I wanted to come with him to Iraq to train teachers at Chesterton,” she says. “I loved it so much and decided to stay on as the middle years program coordinator, which is the European version of the vice principal position.”
In addition, Ms. Post serves as the Director of the Chesterton Academy of St. Thomas the Apostle at Mar Qardakh, which essentially is the headmaster position for the high school.
Though Ms. Post initially thought she would study music, she credits part of her journey to becoming a teacher to some of her Mother of Divine Grace classes.
“During my senior year of high school I was able to take a really great theology class with James Berquist,” she says. “That class really sparked a love of philosophy and liberal arts within me. I discerned religious life, and then went to Christendom College and majored in philosophy.”
Ms. Post brings four years of teaching experience along with a special passion for service projects centered on education.
“One of my favorite things is coaching and encouraging young teachers,” she says. “I love when young teachers feel successful and supported, when they’re experimenting and becoming more comfortable taking risks in the classroom.”
One of the unique challenges to teaching internationally is obtaining the right books and supplies.
“Postal addresses are not a thing in Iraq,” says Ms. Post. “The whole postal system is privatized, individual companies, and they are few and far between. Textbooks are not in ready supply and funds for purchasing and shipping texts are an absolutely urgent need.”
Despite the challenges and the distance from home, Ms. Post warmly shares her enthusiasm for her mission, both in terms of encouraging teachers and helping all students to attain their goals.
“I do see myself helping students in unique places of need at all times throughout my career,” she concludes.
(Photo courtesy of Madeleine Post.)