Lucille “Mikie” Lamontagne Markle ’67 remembers that whenever people complimented her as a teacher and found out she had been educated at Immaculata, they said, “It’s no surprise.” “Because Immaculata came with such a reputation,” she said.
Mikie first learned from IHM Sisters at Bishop Shanahan High School and chose to continue her education with them at Immaculata, along with her older sister, Claire Lamontagne Langevin ’67. Claire took a gap year, so the sisters enrolled at the same time, with Claire majoring in psychology and Mikie studying English and secondary education.
All five of Mikie’s children attended St. Agnes School in West Chester, Pennsylvania, and she joked that she was there so much, she might as well teach there. So she did, becoming a kindergarten teacher for 10 years and then spending 15 years teaching second grade and preparing those students for their first communion and penance. Teaching is “the hardest job you’ll ever love,” Mikie often said. “The day begins, and it ends like a freight train. … My day is gone in a blink!”
Mikie’s youngest child, Meghan Markle ’04, ’09 M.A., Ed.D., grew up watching her mom mark papers at night. “She’d let me put the stickers on,” Meghan remembered, adding that she began to feel drawn to becoming a teacher herself. As a high school student, Meghan showed an aptitude for teaching when she helped in her mother’s Confraternity of Christian Doctrine (CCD) class at St. Agnes Parish. “I let her take on more and more responsibility,” Mikie said. “She just rose to the challenge like a pro.”
From her mother’s experience at Immaculata, Meghan knew it had a strong education program, and she learned she could also play both basketball and soccer all four years. Meghan said her basketball coach, Patty Canterino ’92, ’12 M.A., was an excellent mentor, helping her improve her leadership skills, work ethic and assertiveness.
Meghan also thrived under the mentorship of experienced education professors, who made sure their students started observing classes and meeting great teachers early on in their training. Meghan’s psychology minor proved a helpful complement to her education major, helping her understand how emotions are connected to learning.
“They taught me how to extend myself to my students, how to reach out as a family member would, more than just a teacher.”
After graduation, Meghan got a teaching contract and worked with a variety of grades in West Chester Area School District. For a time, Meghan taught second grade at Penn Wood Elementary School while Mikie taught the same grade at St. Agnes, so they shared resources and swapped ideas.
Meghan knew she wanted to pursue a leadership position, so she began her master’s in educational leadership at Immaculata and was later hired as assistant principal at Erdenheim Elementary School. Her principal there, André McLaurin, earned his Ed.D. at IU. “Any time I meet somebody connected to Immaculata,” Meghan said, “it’s strong relationships and good people.” McLaurin mentored Meghan and helped prepare her to become the principal at Enfield Elementary last year.
For both Mikie and Meghan, their Immaculata teachers and mentors helped form them and are part of who they are. Professors offered not just knowledge, Mikie said, but themselves as well. “They taught me how to extend myself to my students, how to reach out as a family member would, more than just a teacher.”
Mikie and Meghan feel a strong kinship with the Immaculata community. “Once you’re in the family,” Meghan said, “you want to take care of it, and you want to make sure that you’re doing your part to support it. Because I think for both of us, we had such great experiences that we want to pass that along to everybody else.”