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LMU’s PLACE Corps Program: Building Teachers for Life

Heather BoyleFor Heather Boyle ’06, finding the right graduate program was no simple matter. She interviewed with several universities before visiting the Partners in Los Angeles Catholic Education (PLACE) Corps program at Loyola Marymount University. Once she did, she knew she had found the right fit for her.

“I felt like I was where I was supposed to be. The students, professors and staff at PLACE Corps are … deeply passionate about what they are doing for Catholic education,” Boyle said.

PLACE Corps students earn both a teaching credential and a master’s degree while working as a full-time teacher in an underserved Catholic school. The two-year program also includes community living, retreats, masses and guidance from mentors and academic advisors.

“PLACE Corps helps build teachers for life, based on the three pillars of spirituality, community and professional development,” Boyle said.

Participants receive health benefits through the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, and they are provided with a modest salary and housing, enabling most to graduate debt-free. The greatest benefit Boyle received while in the program was how to prioritize her time.

“I wanted to give 100 percent to every aspect of the three pillars, but I had to admit to myself that I couldn’t do it all. Learning how to give and take, and to balance my responsibilities contributed to my becoming a better teacher,” Boyle said.

Boyle teaches health and fitness to students in grades 9–12, and is the assistant director of activities, at Bishop Conaty – Our Lady of Loretto High School in downtown Los Angeles. Next year, she also will teach math.

“PLACE Corps is part of a great movement for Catholic education [that is] bringing in young, energetic and faith-filled teachers into Catholic schools,” Boyle said.

Since the program’s inception in 2001, more than 100 graduates have taken posts in more than 30 under-resourced schools in the Los Angeles Archdiocese, which serves more than 7,000 students. This year, the PLACE Corps received applications from students from 49 universities and 25 states. The program plans to expand the geographic area served to include the San Fernando Valley and Hawaii.

For more information or to apply for PLACE Corps, please click here, call 310.338.3774 or email: place@lmu.edu

Photo: Cardinal Roger Mahoney and Heather Boyle at PLACE Corps Commissioning Mass