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Former principal looks ahead to working with school staff, families as assistant superintendent

Kemberly Markham

Kemberly Markham, assistant superintendent for Diocese of Gary Schools, is shown in her office in the Pastoral Center in Merrillville on July 17. Former principal of Nativity of Our Savior School in Portage, Markham was appointed to the position on July 1.

(Anthony D. Alonzo photo)

 

By Steve Euvino

Northwest Indiana Catholic

 

     MERRILLVILLE – After a decade as principal at Nativity of Our Savior School, Kemberly Markham decided it was time for a change and new challenges. Since July 1, Markham has moved to the Pastoral Center as assistant superintendent of diocesan schools.

     “I felt it was time to use my skills and education to help more families and teachers and principals at the schools,” Markham said. “It was time for Nativity to get a new principal, to take the school in a new direction and build on what I had started.”

     Under Markham, Nativity started a preschool program, an after-school program, a student council, and a Guitar Club. This past school year, Nativity instituted Minds in Motion, a 10-15-minute physical exercise period designed to help students’ balance and focus for the rest of the day.

     As assistant superintendent, Markham will be responsible for coordinating all 20 schools in the Diocese of Gary. This will include state reporting and proper licensing of teachers, as well as background checks, drug testing, and fingerprinting. Markham will also assist Dr. Barbara O’Block, diocesan school superintendent, on determining the school calendar. Markham will also communicate with schools regarding diocesan and state educational requirements.

     “I’m looking forward to working with and visiting all the schools, meeting with teachers and staff members,” Markham said. “I also want to work with families, helping them navigate through tuition assistance and state requirements and requirements through the diocese on education.”

     Prior to serving 10 years as principal at Nativity of Our Savior in Portage, Markham taught language arts and computers for 13 years at Sunman-Dearborn Middle School in downstate Brookeville.

     Markham attended Franklin College, earning a bachelor’s degree in English and secondary education, with a minor in reading. She earned master’s degree in secondary education and later her principal’s licensing from Indiana Wesleyan University.

     A member of Nativity of Our Savior Parish, Markham is a minister of Holy Comm. She is a member of several state educational groups and serves on the advisory council for new teacher prep programs at Calumet College of St. Joseph.

     Markham and her husband Daniel have three children, Ian, a sophomore at Johns-Hopkins University in Baltimore; daughter Kiera, a junior at Andrean High School; and son Cormac, an eighth-grader at Nativity.

     As a communicator Markham believes “I am able to work with many different people, and I’ll be able to work with principals, parents, faculty, and staff.”

     As assistant superintendent, Markham wants to streamline some of the schools’ office record-keeping, going more online through the diocesan website and moving away from paper. She also wants to develop advisory council of educational staff, to enable administrators and teachers to share their challenges and successes with colleagues.

     One key area for Markham is working on a curriculum for the diocese, incorporating the new state guidelines for equipping students after completing high school with college- and career-ready skills. The assistant superintendent wants to see the diocese go a step further, adding faith-based standards and adapting more rigorous educational guidelines.

     Faith is a real strength of Catholic schools, Markham said, and for that reason all of her children have attended Catholic schools through grade 12.

     From her experiences as a public school teacher, Markham said, “I saw so many students who did not have any type of faith in anything, and that’s a detriment to anyone. It’s not just that they didn’t go to church, but they had nothing to fall back on, nothing to help them get through rough times. One of the great assets of Diocese of Gary schools is we offer a faith-based education.”

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