Holy Family 2022 Lasallian Educator of the Year Luke Olley grew up in a family of educators. His late grandmother was an elementary school teacher. His father, Christopher Olley taught social studies and is currently the headmaster at Chesterton Academy. Luke teaches English and his sister, teaches math.
Luke joined the Holy Family teaching staff in 2019 after completing his bachelor of arts in English education at St. John’s University. He is currently completing a Master of Arts in Education from St. Catherine’s University. In addition, Luke served as a volunteer teacher in Bogota, Colombia as a member of the Benedictine Volunteer Corps.
Luke met his fiance Maddie when they were both English majors in college. Following their wedding this summer, they will be relocating to Syracuse, NY, where Maddie will complete a doctorate in English.
We caught up with Luke to learn more about his Holy Family experience and the teaching philosophy that inspired our students and teachers to select him as the 2022 St. John Baptist de La Salle Educator of the Year.
What brought you to Holy Family?
I am a lifelong student of Catholic education, and I was really drawn to the idea of teaching at a Catholic school. The opportunity to share my love of reading and my Catholic faith was a huge plus in my career choice. I also was born in the area and had several college classmates that loved their time as students at Holy Family.
How do you approach teaching English?
I would say my approach to teaching English is to find a way for students to engage with complex topics and ideas beyond reading and writing mechanics. The written word is a wonderful medium, but it is a vehicle for students to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding. I try and facilitate discussion and critical thinking more than just grammar or vocabulary.
What do you enjoy most about Holy Family?
The best part about being a teacher at Holy Family is the genuine joy that the faculty and students have for being here. I work with incredible educators who share my passion for our subject matters and the belief in teaching the whole student. And it always brightens my day when students stop by to chat. I don’t know if this is replicable at other schools.
St. John Baptist de LaSalle listed 12 Virtues of a Lasallian Educator in his book, ” The Conduct of the Christian Schools.” Are any of these particularly meaningful to you as an educator?
I am drawn to the virtues of patience and gentleness. As a teacher, it is hard to forget that you are only 44 minutes out of a student’s 24 hours. They may be coming in with sadness, happiness, or a chip on their shoulder that you have done nothing to cause, yet it will be your responsibility to engage with them. Similarly, students will not want to come in and ask for help if they think that their teacher is judgmental or irritated with them. I accredit my ability to form and maintain relationships with my students to these two virtues.
What will you miss about Holy Family Catholic High School?
I will miss the daily interactions with my fellow staff members that keep me sane. I also will genuinely feel sad about being robbed of the ability to see my students grow into adults. I have taught the class of 2024 for two years now–I would have liked to see them develop into seniors and leaders and see how they will embark into the world.