Martha Engert, Dorm Parent, and her dogs Cassidy and Wookie, arrived at Oliverian in September 2017 and live in Clifford House with a group of amazing girls. Martha was hired as a dorm parent/life skills coach while her dogs quickly adapted to waking the girls up in the morning for class, greeting them when they arrive home at the end of the day and “hoovering” up any dropped crumbs the girls leave behind.
Martha’s background is in journalism, including 11 years with the Associated Press, and as a Protestant minister and deputy director of a company that developed affordable housing in Vermont.
But her greatest preparation for her life at Oliverian is her life-long love of kids and their creativity and complexity. Martha feels it is a great honor, and one she takes very seriously, to be working and living with Oliverian students. Her dogs agree!
What do you love most about Oliverian?
“What I love most about Oliverian is the solid belief that every student holds great potential. To this end, the Oliverian faculty challenge themselves to “try, try and try again” to identify what each student needs to find their place in the world. This is especially true in helping students overcome challenges and bolster their self-esteem. There is a “can-do” attitude here that unlocks potential and helps our students succeed.”
What motivates you to work with kids?
“This is self-serving, but working with, and in proximity to kids helps me remain relevant and gives me a great sense of accomplishment. I’m not a huge tech nerd, but I do like to stay abreast of changes in technology and Oliverian kids are all over that. Do we all spend too much time on social media? Probably. But social media is their communication platform and I enjoy being able to work with it while maintaining a firm toehold in old school mainstream media. As for the sense of accomplishment, I believe that we are put on this earth to give back and make life better. Guiding kids, especially challenging kids, to a successful future, is enormously rewarding with the bonus of getting to enjoy their insight, creativity and love as part of the journey.”