St. Joseph’s Academy has announced that Aimee Wiles has been named to the position of dean of curriculum and instruction. A 1993 graduate of St. Joseph’s Academy, Wiles has more than 20 years of experience in the field of Catholic education. She joins the SJA administrative team after serving as principal of Redemptorist St. Gerard Elementary School. Prior to that, she was principal at Cristo Rey Baton Rouge Franciscan High School.
The dean of curriculum and instruction works in collaboration with the administration and faculty to provide leadership and vision in the ongoing planning, implementation, development and evaluation of the school’s curriculum. The dean works to ensure that the Academy’s educational objectives are aligned with the school’s mission, accreditation, standards and practices that yield the highest standards of student achievement and instructional excellence.
“I’m really looking forward to doing what I love to do: work with teachers,” Wiles said. “Teachers are so impactful on students. Sometimes, as educators, we don’t realize how much of an influence we can have on students. As an administrator, my greatest joy is to work with teachers to be their best and seeing them succeed beyond the challenges that they face every day. Teaching is not an easy profession; I like to celebrate teachers’ successes because their joy will be passed on to their students and will help create a collaborative community among colleagues.”
Wiles graduated from Louisiana State University in 1997 with a bachelor of arts in history. She earned an M.A. in curriculum and instruction in 2003 from LSU and an M.E. in instructional leadership in 2011 from Loyola University, Chicago. After spending the last few years as an administrator at the elementary level, Wiles said she is looking forward to returning to a high school environment. “High school is my niche, where I feel most comfortable,” she said. “I’m looking forward to being part of a team. For the past few years, I’ve really been the lone administrator of my previous schools. I work best when I bounce ideas off of others and get different perspectives, and the SJA leadership team seems to believe in that philosophy, as well. It’s important for a school to have a strong, unified leadership team, and I’m looking forward to being part of that team.”
The product of a Catholic education, Wiles said her career-long devotion to working in Catholic schools is personal. Her mother was a single parent who worked hard to ensure that she and her brother, a graduate of Catholic High School, were afforded the opportunity to attend Catholic schools for grades K-12. “The values, discipline and knowledge that were bestowed upon me in my Catholic education are part of my journey that has led me here today,” she said. “One of the reasons that I chose to work in Catholic education is because of my mom. It is my turn to give back and to help create the wonderful educational experiences that I received as a student in Catholic education.”
Wiles has worked in a variety of Catholic school settings, from local diocesan schools to inner-city schools in Chicago. She served as the founding educational leader when the national Cristo Rey Network added Baton Rouge to its family of 35 schools. Each unique opportunity has served her well, she said. “I’ve gained a tremendous amount of knowledge and experience from the schools that I’ve worked at in my career,” she said. “I’ve worked with poor-performing students who needed extra support to meet grade-level expectations, and I’ve worked with students who were National Merit recipients and students who went on to Ivy League schools. I’ve cherished each experience.”
While a strong academic background is key to a student’s success, Wiles said that “teaching to the whole person” enables a student to find success in the world beyond graduation. As an Academy student, Wiles was a member of the choir and drama club for four years. She enjoyed class retreats and growing in her Catholic faith. She said she looks forward to returning to her alma mater to help provide the same kinds of transformative experiences that she enjoyed.
“Giving back to a school that has shaped and formed me into the woman I am today, the educator I am today and the human being I am today means more than words can express,” she said. “Some of my best years and my best friends were made during my high school years at SJA. In fact, many of us who formed friendships are still very close today. The memories and friendships that I made were so impactful on me. I hope that the students of SJA know how lucky they are to partake in those traditions and foundations for what the future holds. I hope that I can help instill that foundation and those experiences for today’s young women of SJA.”
Away from work, Wiles loves spending time with her son, 6-year-old Alex. Her favorite getaway destination is the beach, and her favorite hobby is playing the piano.
Mindy Brodhead Averitt