I want them to understand they are a part of this ongoing, growing, changing, joyful, messy-reality Church.
This is the second in a series of stories highlighting alumni of UD’s ministry programs. Read the first here.
By Tracey Dillard, MA ’98
It didn’t take long for Jodi Hunt, affiliate assistant professor of theology at the University of Dallas, to recognize Cathy Quattrochi, BA ’78 MCSL ’09, as a UD alumna.
Hunt’s children attended Holy Family Catholic Academy in Irving, Texas, where Quattrochi has been teaching middle school English and literature since 2018 and was named the 2020-21 Teacher of the Year.
In this role, Quattrochi said she “loves the challenge of teaching writing, and most of all, igniting a love for literature. These classes provide so much opportunity for discussion and analysis that relate not only to the text we are reading, but also to their own world and the larger society.”
“It was immediately clear that Ms. Quattrochi was one of the most well-loved teachers at the school,” explained Hunt. “She supports her colleagues and cares about the whole child. The way she integrates Catholic teaching into every lesson is a reflection of her UD education.”
Quattrochi graduated with a UD philosophy degree in 1978. Although she’s always had the heart for teaching, she didn’t feel called at such a young age. She became a bookkeeper and then the mother of two children, Mia and Luke.
While her children were attending St. Luke's Catholic School in Irving, she began subbing, and her passion for teaching came alive. Initially she taught second grade for eight years and first grade for six years.
During the 2004-05 school year, Quattrochi taught third grade half the day and was the assistant principal the rest of the day. In March 2005, she was asked to be the principal, in which position she served until June 2010.
When she began taking on administrative duties at St. Luke’s, Quattrochi knew she needed more knowledge to excel at her job. This quest brought her back to UD, where she earned her Master of Catholic School Leadership.
For Quattrochi, UD’s program was a perfect blend of theological and pastoral education combined with the practical, administrative knowledge she needed. The program also offered evening and weekend classes and allowed her to complete her degree at her own pace while working a full-time job.
One of her favorite teachers was James Klassen, Ph.D., BA ’71, who taught education classes and administrative best practices.
“Dr. Klassen helped me understand how to keep my work in perspective. What he taught often came back to me while I was principal,” said Quattrochi. “The drier subjects, like budgeting, were never really dry. He presented personal anecdotes that made the topics accessible and had us laughing regularly.”
While Klassen helped her understand the evolution of Catholic Schools and her part in it, Matthew Ogilvie, Ph.D., another of Quattrochi’s favorite professors, helped her understand her role in the living history of the Church.
Through Ogilvie’s Liturgy and Sacrament courses, Quattrochi “gained a different understanding of what it means to be part of the Church and part of a continuum that is thousands of years old.”
She became inspired to share this perspective with her faculty and students. “I want them to understand they are a part of this ongoing, growing, changing, joyful, messy-reality Church,'' she said.
Whether she’s teaching or being an administrator, Quattrochi is thankful for her UD education, which has provided her with a hopeful, long-term perspective of the Church.
“Even after the toughest times, the Church continues,” said Quattrochi. “What we do matters, but it is not all on us … saints and sinners have helped the Church advance, and they still do.”
Throughout her career, she has been blessed with faith-filled teachers, administrators, students and families who support each other in prayer and in practice.
In addition to her time at St. Luke’s and now HFCA, Quattrochi taught sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade religion from 2010 to 2018 at St. Paul the Apostle Catholic School in Richardson.
Quattrochi lives in Irving. Her children, along with six grandchildren, live in the Dallas/Fort Worth area as well.
Within the past five years, the University of Dallas has reinvigorated its Master of Catholic School Leadership program with courses taken in both the departments of Education and Theology in the Braniff Graduate School of Liberal Arts.
The program prepares educators for roles such as assistant principal, principal or president of a Catholic school or diocesan personnel. Classes are offered online and on campus, in the evenings and during the summers.
You can earn your Master of Catholic School Leadership in as little as two years or go at your own pace as Quattrochi did to complete the program. Find out more information here.
In the photo: Cathy Quattrochi with her two children and six grandchildren.