Doris Dean, mentor since 2009.

Mentor Spotlight: Doris Dean, Aquinas Learning Manassas

Doris Dean has been the quintessential mentor; there from the beginning in 2009, and still teaching nine years later!

A twenty-year insurance business veteran, she stopped insurance work in 2001 and began her homeschooling journey in 2003 with a fourth-grader and a four-year-old. Doris joined the Manassas All Saints homeschooling support group (now known as MARCH), where she met Rosario Reilly, and they began working together on clubs and homeschool classes. Doris and Rosario both also served as Catechists at St. Andrews, and still do.

Rosario asked Doris if she would teach when Aquinas Learning kicked off in 2009, and Doris generously said “yes.” She taught the youngest boys for two years, then moved to the “four-six” (Schola Prima II) boys’ group and is entering her seventh year mentoring the boys of that level!

Doris “thoroughly enjoys working with the boys and always finds them very creative and entertaining.” Her favorite teaching experiences “have come when the boys discuss stories we have read or have written, listen to each other, and have meaningful conversations. This doesn’t come naturally, but they can learn this with practice.” She credits the Philosophy component of the Aquinas Learning curriculum for helping to hone this skill.

When asked about her teaching experiences, Doris shared her favorite quote touching on the importance of the education of youth: “The boys of the rising generation are to be the men of the next, and the sole guardians of the principles we deliver over to them” (Thomas Jefferson).

Doris credits her years supervising adults in her business career, as well as her services as a Catechist, with sharpening her teaching skills. When the going gets tough, she “listen[s] to the Holy Spirit and pray[s] for His help while preparing and teaching. Everything works out best when this is done.”

Some of her favorite memories are “of those very shy students who [finally] stand before the class and give an oral presentation at some point during the year.” Doris finds these breakthroughs to be inspiring, and she feels the presentation skills learned by the children are invaluable to their educational experience and beyond.

As a parent, homeschool teacher, and Aquinas Learning mentor, Doris’ advice is to other parents is as follows:

“Cherish the years you have with your children and never look on them as anything other then a gift from God.  He has entrusted us to teach and guide these students. Although an important job, do it with kindness and relax. Appreciate the fact that you are in a position to homeschool your children and are able to spend this time with them; there are many parents who work multiple jobs who are unable to even consider homeschooling their children.”


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