Dr. Elizabeth A. Molloy Twomey ’52 began her Catholic education at Sacred Heart School in Lynn before choosing St. Mary’s for its academic rigor. She appreciated the investment by the teachers in the student, and believed in the mission of the school. She found both humanity and support in Sr. Barbara and Sr. Ellen St. James, both of whom became "guiding lights" throughout her educational pursuits.
After leaving St. Mary’s Betty stayed in Lynn working at the General Electric in order to be present in her parent’s lives. In recognition of her wish to work at something she enjoyed, she found a home at Emmanuel College where she studied English and Psychology.
Betty went on to Salem State College and took a Master’s Degree in reading. This step took her teaching career from English teacher to teaching as a reading specialist in the Reading Public Schools. After the classroom, she became the sole female principal in Reading at the Highland School. Her next assignment was at Reading High School as Assistant Principal. During this time she continued her studies at Boston College PhD program for school administration.
With her doctoral degree completed, Betty was appointed Superintendent of Schools in Lincoln with responsibility for schools at the Hanscom Air Force Base, which are a part of the Lincoln Public Schools. At the time, Betty was one of only few female superintendents in the entire state of Massachusetts.
While Betty acknowledged she never set out to be in administration, she recognized early on that administration provided an opportunity to influence and lead more change than is possible from the classroom responsibilities. In that spirit, after a number of years in Lincoln, she was named Associate Commissioner of Education for the state of Massachusetts. From there, she became Deputy Commissioner of Education for the state of New Hampshire, and subsequently, Commissioner of Education. Most recently, Betty’s active career includes twelve years of teaching at the Lynch School of Education as well as the Roche Center for Catholic Education at Boston College.
An emeritus Board member of St. John’s Prep, the first alumna representative of the Board of Emmanuel College, and now as Vice Chair of St. Mary’s Board of Trustees, Owen Lynch ’52, provides the perfect summary by saying, “I have known Betty since first grade at Sacred Heart School. She was a star in those early years and has continued to be so throughout her life. She has had an outstanding career in education and become a brilliant administrator. She is a devoted advisor and trustee of St. Mary’s. We are fortunate to have her on our team.”
As Vice Chair of the Board and Chair of the School’s Education Committee, Betty has persevered to ensure that St. Mary’s classrooms are full of the rich learning that each student deserves, so that they, too can find their destiny in the strength and confidence that lies within each of them.
- By Joan Luise Hill ‘71