Friday, May 24, 2024

Founding director of children’s center honored

By Laura Vallejo, Intermountain Catholic

SALT LAKE CITY — After 13 years as the director of the Nano Nagle Children’s Center and 20 years in Catholic education, Jeramie Green, founding director of the center, is retiring.

A farewell open house was held for Green on May 26. At the event, Mark Longe, superintendent of Utah Catholic Schools who hired Green for the director’s position, said he was grateful that she was able to instill community at the day care, which is affiliated with St. Vincent de Paul Catholic School, where Longe was principal at the time.

“It was not just a secular institution that she led. … With skills, she infused Catholic values into the program from the very beginning and she welcomed people, which really is a charism of the Presentation Sisters,” who administered to the school in earlier days, Longe said.

Longe, who knew Green because her husband used to work for him, said she was an ideal person to direct the day care because she not only had a background in childhood education but she was also a product of Catholic education “and a product of a very loving Catholic family.”

The day care was named in honor of the Venerable Nano Nagle, who founded the Sisters of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, a religious institute of Roman Catholic women. Members of the Presentation Sisters arrived at St. Vincent de Paul School two years after it opened in 1963.

Green was a natural extension of the sisters’ ministry, Longe said. “I always believe that God will send us the people that need to be here, and he sent us the right person.”

Green oversaw the renovation and expansion of the day care, and “her ability to always find the right thing to do” is admirable, said Fr. John Norman, pastor of St. Vincent de Paul Parish. “I never had to worry about things being taken care of at Nano Nagle.”

Members of this year’s eighth-grade class were the first to have graduated from the day care, and “Nano Nagle has been a real formation space, not just a day care center thanks to [Green],” said Theresa Clay, the school’s development director.

Kelly Grunerge, a St. Vincent’s parent, became part of the school community when she met Green some years ago. Grunerge had attended another parish, but because of Green’s recommendation, “my then 2-year-old started at Nano, then at St. Vincent’s, and now thanks to her we are part of this community, where I have longtime friends,” Grunerge said.

Stepping down was not an easy decision for Green, for whom the past 13 years “have meant community, success, joy, friendship,” she said. “I have learned a lot about life and faith, and I am very grateful and blessed.”

With retirement from the day care, Green will be returning to another of her passions: the floral business.

“I love creating events where people can come together,” she said, adding that she also wants to spend more time with her boys, one a high school senior and the other a fourth-grader.