Alumni Spotlight: Emily Heydon, ‘09
We are proud of the fact that nearly 10 percent of the teachers at Rochester Catholic Schools are alumni. It says a lot about the RCS spirit that our graduates return to our schools to share their gifts and passion for learning with future generations of Eagles.
One such alumna is Emily Heydon, Kindergarten Teacher at St. Pius X School, who also exemplifies the culture of educational excellence within our system. Ms. Heydon was recently recognized as Honor Teacher for grades K-6 in the MINNDEPENDENT 2022 Private and Independent Education Awards. This award is presented to only one teacher statewide annually.
Ms. Heydon knew early in her career that she wanted not only to teach in Catholic schools, but that she wanted to make her way back to RCS. During a student teaching experience in the public schools while at college, she realized she missed having a connection with students that included building their faith. She wanted to teach the "whole child" - academically, socially, emotionally, and spiritually.
“As I was student teaching, RCS was always the standard I compared myself to, and I just realized how much it would mean to come back 'home,' because they made me who I am based on those values I learned early in my life at St. Francis of Assisi and Lourdes.”
In addition to developing a strong foundation of faith while at RCS, Ms. Heydon is also grateful for the sense of community and belonging she experienced as a student. This is something that she continues to enjoy today as she maintains close relationships with friends from grade school through high school.
She also appreciates the high standard of work ethic and responsibility instilled in her at RCS that prepared her for college and her career. Ms. Heydon went on to earn a Bachelor of Science Degree in Early Childhood Education with an Early Childhood Special Education Certificate from the University of Wisconsin-Stout and a Master of Arts Degree in Literacy Education from Saint Mary's University of Minnesota. She has taught at St. Pius X since 2014.
A devotion to RCS and passion for teaching runs in the Heydon family. Ms. Heydon’s mother, Pat Heydon, was a 5th-grade teacher at St. Francis of Assisi for 32 years, and her late grandmother, Louise Heydon, taught there for 20 years. Ms. Heydon said she grew up playing school and helping her mother set up her classroom every school year.
She is proud to be part of a family of RCS alumni and carry on the Eagle tradition. Her sisters, Megan Heydon ‘06 and Jana (Heydon) Odentha ‘07, and father, James Heydon ‘75, also attended St. Francis of Assisi and Lourdes.
It is clear that Ms. Heydon is truly at home at RCS and in her classroom. With her students, she places faith and values above all else. She fosters individual growth and achievement at a young age by helping each student understand that learning is a lifelong process.
“My hope for my students is that they become good people! I always hope they try their best and know it's okay to not 'get it' right away because that means we are still learning,” she said. “RCS is truly my home. I can't imagine working anywhere else!”