Passionate. Humorous. Encouraging. Patient. These are just some of the words that Steve Foley’s students use to describe him.
Mr. Foley is a perennial favorite teacher among Upper School students for his engaging classroom management and mentorship. Alumni regularly come back and comment on the benefits of the lessons they learned in his classroom. Ask him how he does it – how he makes long days and busy schedules work while keeping a smile on his face and on the faces of his students: he will tell you that it’s because he loves his job.
“I tell my students, ‘I hope you feel like I do in your job someday.’ I know this is where I am called.”
Steve remembers PCA coming into his life in a unique way in 1995. At that time, Steve was working as a tutor at “Measured Progress” in Dover, but hoped to move into a teaching position. A friend of his applied for a job at PCA, and after getting off the phone with then Head of School Dennis Runey, his friend recommended Steve for the job instead, believing that his strong faith and character would make him the perfect fit. Steve began at PCA in the following fall teaching English at the Upper School.
“When I came to PCA full time in the fall of 1996, as a very green teacher, my perspective was limited to trying to stay one day ahead of my English students. I did, however, eventually poke my head up from the lesson planner and realized that I had become part of something very special,” Steve explains.
A lot has changed for Steve since 1996: He is a father to a PCA graduate and a current PCA High School student, and he is no longer a “very green” teacher, with nearly 23 years under his belt. In those 23 years he has held many additional roles at PCA including English Department Head, Upper School Principal, and Dean of Men. Of all those roles, his favorites have been the ones that have allowed him to build relationships with students. Steve talks about the community at PCA – about how alumni come back regularly to express gratitude for the family that PCA is to them. To Steve, that is the most rewarding part of the job.
“We see these kids as made in God’s image. They’re little brothers and sisters,” Steve says. “We care for them in a different way.”
His students, co-workers, and friends can all agree with Steve when he says that his position maximizes his gifts. His relational gifts, his passion for his subject matter, and his desire to watch students grow in the Lord make him an extraordinary mentor and friend to many in the PCA community.
Dr. Ray Gamble, who has worked with Steve since his earliest days at PCA, describes their relationship as one that is both professional and personal. “From the beginning, I have sought his counsel in handling difficult issues,” Ray says. In addition to working together at school, they have a close bond due to their love for Boston sports teams. “After a Boston victory (Red Sox, Pats, and Bruins), he and I will joyously dissect the action. After a loss, we nod and move on.”
Steve’s students also recognize his unique gifts and his fit for his role at PCA. “Teaching isn’t just his job—it’s his passion and he makes that known,” a former student, Abby, tells us. “He is encouraging, helpful, and also makes everyone feel important.”
From Steve’s perspective, he is involved in something quite special here at PCA. Conversations with this colleagues and students reveal that they, too, feel that working alongside Steve is a special privilege.
Were you a student in Mr. Foley’s classroom? Do you have a story to share? Share with us! Email firstname.lastname@example.org and share about your experience at PCA and what you’re up to now as a graduate!