BERLIN, Md. — Most people move to the Delaware beaches looking to slow down and enjoy a well-earned respite in the sand and sunshine. But for Kathy Manns, her trip from north Wilmington to Sussex County has resulted in a full-time dip back into education.
Manns, a longtime educator and administrator at St. Mary Magdalen in Brandywine Hundred, is the new principal at Most Blessed Sacrament School. She took over on an interim basis last December after the retirement of longtime principal Mark Record. Manns is eager to get a full year in at Most Blessed Sacrament after having just a few months in the position before the coronavirus pandemic sent everyone home in March.
From 1986-2018, Manns was a fixture as a teacher and assistant principal at St. Mary Magdalen. Her husband moved to their home in West Fenwick Island in Delaware after a transfer at work, and for a time they lived at opposite ends of the state. The couple’s daughter and her family also live in that area. Six weeks after retiring from St. Mary Magdalen and moving to the beach, Manns asked Record about being a long-term substitute. She was hired in November 2018 as the middle-school integrated language arts teacher. Thirteen months later, she was the principal.
She has found Most Blessed Sacrament School, which is sponsored by eight parishes covering much of Sussex County, Del., and Worcester County, Md., to be a welcoming place.
“It is a faith-filled community, and it has a strong Catholic identity. The people were just welcoming and kind, warm. I just felt like the Holy Spirit sent me here for a purpose. I felt blessed the moment I walked through the door,” she said recently.
A native of Garnet Valley, Pa., Manns is no stranger to Catholic education.
“I’m a product of St. Thomas the Apostle in Chester Heights, Pa.,” she said. I went to Notre Dame High School in Moylan, and I went to Neumann University for my undergrad and my master’s degree in education. You can’t get any more Catholic.”
Her teaching career began with two years at the now-closed Holy Saviour School in Linwood, Pa.
Manns, who declined to give her age, has had the opportunity to get to know the people and the culture at Most Blessed Sacrament for two years, so she has an idea of what she would like to accomplish. One of her goals is to bring the school community closer together since they do come from such a wide geographic area. Last year, the school hosted a grandparents’ night for the first time in several years, and family reading and math nights were planned before being nixed by the pandemic. A homework club and Lego club will begin this year; they, too, were on the agenda before covid hit.
“What we’d like to do is be more involved in after-school activities, instituting a science club, participating in Science Olympiad, in Math League, and things like that,” she said.
In addition, the middle school will be a little more involved in service off-campus.