By Seth Gonzales
The Texas Catholic
Moving to Dallas had never crossed Kelly Blake’s mind until her husband Richard accepted a job in North Texas. The Philadelphia native and new principal of All Saints Catholic School had traveled to many U.S. cities during her career as an educational consultant, but hadn’t stepped foot in Dallas.
“I really did think I was moving to the country, so when we pulled in to our apartment there were stores and everything, so that was a big relief,” said Blake laughingly, as she reminisced about seeing Dallas for the first time in 2010.
The Blake family landed in Frisco and stayed there for four years. As a stay-at-home mom, Blake quickly found friends who were mothers themselves at St. Jude Catholic Church in Allen, the couple’s home parish at the time.
“My faith and church absolutely made (the move) doable without having family here because we met such good friends and everybody supported one another,” Blake said. “Many of my friends there also had no family here in Dallas, so we kind of became each other’s family.”
In August 2014, they moved to North Dallas and began attending All Saints Catholic Church. Her husband fell in love with the parish’s school and before she knew it, Blake had re-started her career in education, which she previously paused to care for her two young children Liam and Rowan.
She served as vice-principal of All Saints Catholic School last year and later stepped in to fill the principal’s post vacated by principal Sister Denise Thompson. Blake is now entering her first full year as principal, but brings with her 11 years of experience in the education industry, including seven years as a classroom teacher.
“I love getting up in front of the kids and bringing energy to them for learning,” Blake said. “I love how you can impact their entire lives. It’s just amazing and rewarding to see what you can give to them and how they grow.”
Father Alfonse Nazzaro is parochial vicar at All Saints Catholic Church and frequently visits the school. He said he admires Blake’s professionalism, her enthusiasm for the children, and believes her role as a mother will help her as principal.
“The fact that she’s a mom herself and she works at the school, she can look at her position in many ways,” Father Nazzaro said. “I think Kelly is definitely a professional woman who knows how to deal with families and staff in a proper way; a way that is Christian and very much part of our tradition.”
Father Nazzaro also said he was excited to see the vision Blake will bring to the school. He didn’t have to wait long.
Over the summer, Blake officially approved a new science, engineering, technology and math (STEM) partnership between All Saints and the University of Texas at Dallas with the help of All Saints Catholic School eighth-grade math teacher Doreen Mayrell.
Graduate students from the university who are studying in those STEM fields will regularly visit the campus and work through projects with 5th-8th grade students, helping them apply the abstract to real life.
“She believes in the school and its mission and she loves to share it with others,” Father Nazzaro said. “She really is zealous and energetic when it comes to the school. I think that is so essential in Catholic schools.”