Mary Ellen Kenny

Mary Ellen Kenny

Academic Curriculum Advisor

Mary Ellen Kenny has decades of experience in leadership positions supporting teachers to evolve in their teaching practice and to create cohesive academic planning using the best practices in progressive education. She works closely with teachers and the Dharma Curriculum coordinator to build a dynamic and meaningful education experience for the students at Middle Way.

Much of my life has been spent in schools. I believe that education can be transformative. The study of child development and the processes of learning and teaching are endlessly fascinating to me. Good schools are vibrant places, pulsing with life. On any given day, it’s possible to witness a striking range of human emotion and capability as a community works together to grow in their understanding of one another and of the world. It’s never dull, often humbling, and always inspiring.

I have worked as a teacher and administrator in progressive, independent schools in the Hudson Valley and in New York City. I was fortunate to form my teaching practice in the company of wonderful colleagues who were generous with their time and knowledge. In the leadership positions I have held for two decades, at Poughkeepsie Day School, Corlears School, and the Bank Street School for Children, I have enjoyed working with students and their families each day and with teachers and graduate students as a supervisor and mentor. I am intrinsically interested in what motivates a person to become an educator and appreciate the chance to work with people who are looking for support in their evolution as teachers. 

My B.A. degree in English was earned at Ramapo College of New Jersey and I received an MS in early childhood education from SUNY New Paltz. While a student at SUNY, I enrolled in a summer intensive class called, Nature and Nature Writers. We spent eight days hiking and camping in the Shawangunk Ridge as we read the likes of Emerson and Thoreau and spent time writing each day. The experience touched and inspired me in a way that has left me committed to staying connected to the natural world and making time each day to reflect and wonder. I am delighted to be joining the team at The Middle Way School because of its noble aspirations and for the chance to see and learn through a new lens.

I live in New Paltz with my husband Peter and our very playful dog. In addition to hiking in beautiful places, I enjoy biking, gardening, cooking, reading, staying in touch with family and friends, and traveling to the west coast to spend time with our two grown children, their spouses, and our darling grandson.