New Learning Resource Specialist Brings Wealth of Experience to NDA


James Bosco, Staff Writer, Advanced Journalism

Notre Dame Academy has acquired a few new faces this year.  Among those new faces is another Learning Resource Specialist, Mrs. Kathryn Bialk.

The uncommon name is pronounced, she explained, like “two deer or bi-elk.”

Bialk’s office is located in Student Services next to fellow Learning Resource Specialist Mr. Cassidy McGowan’s office, and she will help make service plans and arrange testing for students with academic needs.

Born and raised in Green Bay, Bialk graduated from Green Bay West and then attended MSOE (Milwaukee School of Engineering) with plans to become a pediatric oncology nurse.

However, Bialk quickly realized she needed to change her direction when she spent time with children that had cancer.  “When a few experiences left me heartbroken, I learned that it was not the field for me.”

Deciding she needed a change, Bialk transferred to UW-Milwaukee and studied urban education. There  she met her husband, who was in the Marines.

Bialk has been in the educational field since 2003, and over this time period, has acquired extensive teaching experience.

After graduating from UW-Milwaukee, Bialk has taught in classrooms ranging from a private school in Hawaii, where her husband was stationed, to an inner-city school in Milwaukee.

Bialk described working in Milwaukee as “different.” She taught at-risk students, English language learners, foster kids, as well as students who had been previously incarcerated.

Out of one of Bialk’s classes of 42 students, seven had died as result of gang violence, 13 were incarcerated and half of the females in the class were mothers by the time they were 18.

Even though working in an inner-city school had its difficulties, Bialk pressed on and said, “I’m a firm believer that love trumps everything and knew that by working with kids, I could make a difference by putting love first.”

Her inner-city work in Milwaukee led to national recognition from the 9/11 Tribute Museum, which annually honors teachers who “create exemplary educational projects that help students understand the impact of 9/11.”

In addition, she has earned her master’s degree in cross-categorical special education.

Bialk expressed her excitement for her new position here at NDA. She is excited to work in a private school because “you can’t say ‘What would Jesus do?’ in public schools.”

In other words, Bialk is excited to integrate her faith into her new job.

The mother of two pre-schoolers anticipates her time at Notre Dame will be “the calm after the storm” compared to the trials she faced in Milwaukee.

One thing Bialk enjoys is a good conversation. She expressed her desire to interact with the student body and said, “I love to talk…like REALLY love to talk! My office is pretty hidden in the old workroom in Student Services but come visit me and chat.”