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Thirty-six years at a ‘phenomenal’ school

First slide

When Kyle Lee was looking for a new job, she asked Sister St. Kevin, the principal of her parish school —St. Ann in Arlington. “She said no,” said Lee. “She said something better is waiting.”  So Lee went to the diocesan superintendent of schools to see what was available. 

“She literally took me to the window, pointed across the parking lot and said, ‘They need a good teacher over there.’” That was in 1977 and Lee has spent the majority of the years since —36 in total — teaching at St. Thomas More Cathedral School in Arlington. 

During a morning assembly May 3, the school community surprised the third grade teacher and choir director with a special song in her honor, a cake and a book of memories from the students. Students wore stickers with the words “Mrs. Lee taught me!” When the cheers and applause died down, Lee jumped right back into her routine, playing the piano and leading the children in learning hymns for the next day’s Mass. 

“It’s the best job in the world,” she said. “I think it's the only job where you can walk in every single day and make a difference, no matter how big or small. This community is phenomenal and I can’t think of a better place to teach.”


Assistant Principal Nelda Thomas (left) stands with Kyle Lee, who is leaving St. Thomas More Cathedral School in Arlington after teaching there for 36 years. ASHLEIGH KASSOCK 

Lee has taught second, third and sixth grade, but spent the most time — 20 years — teaching first grade. Her three children attended the school and her father served as a deacon at the cathedral. One of her favorite memories as a mother was seeing her family at a school Mass — her father as the deacon, her daughter as the lector and her son as an altar server. 

After the school year ends, Lee and her husband will move to a house on the Rappahannock River, where she hopes to find another teaching job. “I'm not ready to stop this. It’s too much fun,” she said. “I am grateful every day that Sister St. Kevin said no and that I landed here, because she was right. This is where I was meant to be.”

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2018