Jean Mooney, a long-standing volunteer at Saint Columbkille Partnership School, passed away on January 8, 2021. She was a professor at the Lynch School for Education & Human Development at Boston College, having retired in 2003 after working at the university for 32 years. Dr. Mooney was also the director of the Campus School at BC, which educates students ages three to 21 with multiple disabilities and complex health care needs.
Dr. Mooney began volunteering at Saint Columbkille in 2014, assisting faculty and students in various roles. Specifically, she mentored Ms. Melinda Bouras, Student Support Coordinator, and Ms. Kelly Myles, Learning Resource Coordinator, as part of the Student Support Team. For more than five years, Dr. Mooney helped guide Ms. Bouras and Ms. Myles, attending their weekly meetings to offer guidance and support.
“She was one of the smartest people I have met in my professional career,” says Ms. Bouras. “I am truly blessed to say that I had her as a mentor. She was such a giving person: if I ever needed supplies, she would order them through grant money and would make sure I had all the counseling resources I needed.”
“Whenever we had a complex situation, she always knew what to say and do to ensure we supported our students and their families in the most inclusive way possible,” says Ms. Myles. “Jean was incredibly generous with her time and resources.”
Additionally, she helped create an after-school engineering club for girls with science teacher Ms. Anna Birnberg. In 2016, Dr. Mooney invited Mary Nardone, BC Associate VP for Capital Projects and a civil engineer, to speak with the club about her career and the new athletic complex at BC that she was working on at the time. The club was noted in the Boston College Chronicle newspaper in May 2016.
Dr. Mooney was committed to providing students, particularly girls, with opportunities to learn about engineering, with the hope that it would inspire them to pursue careers in this field. Over time, the club shifted into a STEM club for girls and boys, as well as a robotics club for fifth grade and up.
“Jean was always a strong supporter and benefactor of STEM programming at Saint Cols and I am so grateful for her support,” says Ms. Birnberg. “So many of the materials/supplies in my room - the K'nex sets, the Goldie Blox sets, the Machines in Motion kits, books, etc. - were supplied by her, and so many students at Saint Cols have benefited from her generosity.”
The pandemic prevented Dr. Mooney from being physically in the school building this year, but she stayed in contact with the Student Support Team and was still dedicated to helping the students and staff at Saint Columbkille. Just before the New Year, Dr. Mooney and Ms. Myles were discussing the latest grant she was working to obtain for the school. Dr. Mooney was truly committed to Saint Columbkille faculty and students until the very end.