Mary M. McConnaha is a progressive writer and teacher currently living in Maryland. She graduated from Saint Norbert College in 2018 with a bachelor’s of English and Secondary Education, minoring in Spanish and Peace and Justice Studies. As an undergrad, she worked as a Community Organizer at the Norman Miller Center for Peace, Justice, and Public Understanding. On top of writing about education and restorative justice, she is also chronicling her adventures on the Appalachian Trail.
As a teacher, Mary creates an English classroom designed to foster empathy for others through the study of literature. Her middle school students partake in book clubs based around social justice issues like police brutality, ability and disability, religious extremism, and gender identity. They learn to navigate difficult conversations which will help them become critical thinking adults. Always thinking about ways to grow as a teacher, part of her future plans include earning a master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction for Social Justice from Loyola University of Maryland. Mary is committed to writing about, discussing, and helping to solve social issues in cooperation with other passionate people.
Her passion for both education and justice intersects with Restorative Justice. Restorative Justice is an answer to the penal, punitive justice system currently used with both law enforcement and in schools. There is a push across the country to adopt Restorative Justice, a practice with deep roots in First Nation and Native cultures, which promotes true healing for all parties: the harmed, the person who did the harm, and the community they both take part in. She has written about the story of two women in Green Bay, Wisconsin, who brought Restorative Justice to the maximum security prison there and the success they saw with that program. You can read more about that story under the post, “The Project.”
Outside of the classroom, Mary loves adventures. Right now, she and her husband, Henry, are chipping away at the Appalachian Trail each weekend, chronicled on this blog. She has traveled to over seventeen countries around the world already, including Haiti, England, Norway, Italy, Austria, and the Czech Republic. You can read about those experiences in the Blog and check out pictures on the “Photos” page. You can even catch a glimpse of her engagement in Paris!
Mary has written for America Magazine, The Progressive, and Education Week.