Nick Senger (’88)
First in his family to attend college, Nick Senger has built his profession around Catholic education. He is a celebrated teacher at All Saints Catholic School in Spokane, the author of a respected book on reading skills and editor of a blog on Catholic K-12 education.
Find “How YouTube Can Increase Students’ Awareness of God” and more at Nick Senger’s blog, “Catholic School Chronicles.”
Born in Long Beach, Calif., “I didn’t originally plan to go to Gonzaga,” says Senger. “But when my guidance counselor asked me where I would go if money was no object, I named the most prestigious school I knew of. Several months later my parents were driving me to Gonzaga, a place I had never even visited before.”
There he graduated with a bachelor’s in history, went on to earn a master’s in teaching and met Brenda, now his wife of 21 years. And there Senger discovered how much he loved acquiring knowledge and sharing it with others. “At Gonzaga I learned how to think, how to study, how to communicate and how to respond to God’s call,” he says.
For the past two decades, he has taught at All Saints, in 2001 winning the National Catholic Education Association’s award for Distinguished Teacher of the Year, Region XII. He attributes the praise he has received to the special relationships he forges with his students.
“One year, just after “Toy Story” came out, I was teaching a grammar lesson on gerunds, infinitives and participles. At the end of the class, as the students stood up to leave, a girl named Meghan pointed to the door and shouted, ‘To infinitives… and beyond!’ That is exactly where I want my students to go – to infinitives and beyond.”
In 2008, Nick founded the online Catholic School Chronicle. “I noticed there were no blogs or websites specifically devoted to Catholic education,” he says, “and I thought I could help fill that void.” He has also self-published a book on developing reading skills. His stake in Catholic education as a whole is rooted in the concern he has for each individual student long after they have left All Saints.
“Each day I pray for the All Saints alumni, especially those who have passed through my classroom. I wonder what they must be doing – continuing their education, getting married, raising families, looking for work, struggling with loneliness or addiction, caring for sick relatives, perhaps even teaching their own students. I place their needs before God and ask that their day be blessed in a special way that brings them closer to Him.”– E.J. Iannelli