Nine faculty members celebrated milestones in Catholic education last Tuesday at the annual Teacher Recognition Banquet, sponsored by the Miami Valley Catholic Education Council, including one of CJ's longest tenured faculty members who has served his alma mater since 1973.
Forty years ago, John Zaidain ‘68 began teaching and coaching the Eagles full-time after volunteering as an assistant with the football team during two of his four years at the University of Dayton. Since then, he has taught social studies and physical education; coached football, tennis, and volleyball; served short stints as assistant and co-athletic director; and was elected to the CJ Athletic Hall of Fame.
“John Zaidain is part of the fabric of CJ and has been since his freshman year at Chaminade in 1964,” said fellow faculty member of 33 years Jim Brooks, English teacher. John and his wife Kathy are the parents of CJ graduates Jessica '02 and Joanna '05.
“John is one of those people who always believed,” said Peg Regan ‘73. “He has given constantly throughout the past 40 years to help make CJ the successful institution it is today. He treats all people with respect and makes his students and players feel valued. He has been willing to take on any task asked of him, whether it be teach a different subject or coach a new sport. He is a real role model for me in showing how to truly serve CJ.”
A Spanish teacher and the foreign language department chair, Peg herself celebrated 35 years of teaching, all of which have also come at her alma mater. She and husband Jim Brooks are also parents of two CJ graduates, Colleen ‘10 and Carmen ‘11. Peg’s sister Kathleen Zehenny is an administrative assistant in the athletic office, and her father Ed Regan ‘40 was a longtime faculty member and coach at Chaminade.
John and Peg are both well-respected and cherished members of the CJ community, and each is responsible for programs and opportunities enjoyed by students to this day. In 1982, Peg made international travel a staple of foreign language curriculum, organizing trips to Mexico and Spain. More recently, John established the very popular summer physical education program, which allows students -- especially incoming freshmen -- the chance to meet new friends and fulfill gym requirements in a fun way before the start of school.
Others celebrating milestones included:
- Molly Bardine, 20 years of service: The English department chair initiated and orgainzes the annual Sr. Dorothy Stang Symposium. She began her career at CJ as a student-teacher in 1990. Many of Molly’s family members graduated from CJ predecessor schools.
- Andy Helms, 15 years of service: Andy has coached football and taught business and Project Lead the Way engineering courses during his 7 years at CJ. He is the father of sophomore Addi and future Eagle Tucker, a soon-to-be member of the class of 2017.
- Marilyn McCrate, 15 years of service: Marilyn splits time working as an assistant director of Ministry & Service and teaching religion. She and her husband Tom belong to a lay Marainist community and are parishioners at Queen of Apostles.
- Jenny Secor, 15 years of service (not pictured): Jenny has been a part-time math teacher at CJ since 1998 and says she “continues to love being part of this faith-based community.”
- Gina Harrington, 10 years of service: Gina serves at the director of library services. She has also helped coach Eagles’ soccer, bowling and swimming teams. Her children Scott ‘16, Katy ‘15 and Nathan ‘13 are all current CJ students.
- Brett Chmiel ‘02, 6 years of service: Brett began working for his alma mater as an assistant director in the office of ministry and service. He has served in his current position as director of admissions since the 2010-11 school year.
- Meg Draeger, 5 years of service: Meg coordinates CJ’s innovative STEMM (science, technology, math and medicine) program. Her daughters Amanda ‘16 and Emily ‘13 are both students at CJ. At this year’s Teacher Recongition Banquet, Meg also received an Innovative Teaching Grant for her proposal, Toys for God’s Kids.