The very best part of Villa di Maria is our people. Our community of families, faculty and staff is something to be proud of. In this series, We are VdM, we’ll highlight the energies, talents, humor and wisdom of some of our amazing people.
Today, we’ll meet JoAnne, Kyle, James and Caroline Cronan, who joined VdM in 2015. James is in his second year in the Racks & Tubes Lower Elementary classroom and Caroline is going into her culminating year in Mrs. Steinman’s House.
Villa di Maria: Where are you from and what brought you to St. Louis?
The Cronans: JoAnne is a St. Louis native and Kyle grew up in the bootheel of Missouri, in a small town called Portageville. He came up to StL after finishing his undergrad at Southeast Missouri State and a few years later he decided to go back to school at University of Missouri St. Louis to study Piano and get a music degree. That’s where we met, because Jo was there to study cello. We’ve never really played any duets though. Hmm.
We always joke that we met in Dr. Ott’s 8:00 am music theory class and the rest was history… because immediately after Dr. Ott’s class we had to rush across campus to get to Music History by 9:00. That’s when Jo got introduced to Kyle’s sweet 1989 Camaro.
VdM: How did you find Montessori and what brought you to VdM?
JoAnne: In orchestra at UMSL I met an amazing friend Katrina, a kooky and amazing violist from Tacoma Washington and a proud product of Montessori. She planted the seed, and then on maternity leave I read a lot about it and fell in love. I sort of secretly decided that we would do Montessori if we could.
I went back to work and we found a babysitter we and James love so so much. She does in-home preschool, and with my long hours (I was a CPA by then working 14 hour days in tax season) we had no idea how we’d be able to fit our life into school hours anyway, so I almost gave up the idea. Then I landed a sweet new job in mid-August and the stars aligned. Villa still had an opening, so I came for a tour with Laura.
I just saw the beautiful campus in Camp Pegnita mode, a quick glimpse of the Montessori Mornings children doing all the things in their swimsuits (heart eyes), and Laura handed me the Montessori Madness book of course, but I was already sold. And then I told Kyle he was sold, and he was sold too! Haha. He went along with it, but he became really sold when Caroline started and he saw his baby girl doing all the things.
VdM: What do you and your spouse do, career-wise?
The Cronans: Jo is the Chief Financial Officer at Logos School, a therapeutic alternative middle and high school in Olivette. Kyle is—get ready—the Associate Director of Graduate Financial Aid at the Olin Business School of Washington University. Phew. He especially loves working on the yellow ribbon program, wherein WashU matches the GI Bill benefits so that military veterans can attend Olin.
VdM: What is something your family is doing to make the most of this extended break?
The Cronans: Mostly we’re just trying to say “why not” to things we never had time for (made time for… ), like camping out on our own deck, baking stuff, painting the front sidewalk, riding bikes, washing cars, and doing experiments we saw on YouTube like Soda+Mentos and Elephant Toothpaste.
VdM: A question for James and Caroline – Would you rather live on a beach or in the mountains? And why?
The Cronans: Caroline definitely wants to live at the beach. She is a sun goddess and loves swimsuit fashion. She said she could build sandcastles and find mermaid crowns.
James admittedly loves the beach too, but would choose to live in the mountains because he loves dirt and adventure, wild animals, and the cool mountain breezes.
Thank you, JoAnne, Kyle, James and Caroline for sharing your lives with us today on the blog and at VdM every day.
Photos courtesy of the Cronan family.