Andrea Hearden: “I Really Believe in Notre Dame”


Mason Tumpach, Staff Writer, Journalism I

In describing her tenure at NDA, Interim Principal Andrea Hearden simply said, “It’s been a truly remarkable experience.” 

Hearden has been teaching ICP, math and other science classes at Notre Dame for 32 years.

“I am super passionate about teaching and making a difference in someone’s life,” said Hearden.

Interestingly, she did not plan on becoming a teacher. She attended St. Joseph Academy, an all-girls school that combined with Premontre and Pennings to become Notre Dame Academy. Before school and after school, Hearden would go to dance lessons, as dance was her passion in life.

“I planned to be a classical ballerina,” she told the Journalism I class. 

Unfortunately, during March of her senior year, she fell during a lift and ruptured her Achilles tendon. She could not continue dancing and therefore she was not able to join the Milwaukee Ballet.

“It was absolutely devastating,” said Hearden.

While her injury destroyed one of her dreams, she now sees it as something that opened her life up to other possibilities.

“In the long run I saw God’s hand in it, but in the moment it was hard,” she said.

Hearden eventually moved on and attended UW-Milwaukee to major in applied math and physics.

“I was the only woman in all my classes in my junior and senior years,” she explained.

She then went on to attend graduate school at UW-Milwaukee and started working in labs.

Sadly, her dad became ill, and she moved back to Green Bay to take care of him.

That was when the former principal of NDA, Dane Radecki, reached out to her and talked her into teaching science and math.

From there, Hearden went on to create the curriculum for ICP. Her goal was to constructively challenge students and prepare them for success in college.

“It is one of the things I am most proud of,” said Hearden.

When Mr. Browne retired as principal last year, a search committee was created to find someone that would be the right fit to replace him. Among the teachers and staff on the search committee was Hearden.

However, the committee had difficulty finding a person that matched the values and goals NDA stands for.

“I was praying for the wisdom to know who the right person was and the courage to speak my opinion openly in the meetings,” said Hearden.

With little luck at finding a replacement, some of the committee members began to encourage her to take the job as interim principal.

In what Hearden describes as a “Holy Spirit moment,” she decided to accept the challenge.

So far she is enjoying her role, but it also comes with its difficulties. Some of those challenges, she said, are effective communication, writing long emails and working through concerns with families.

Her new role has also opened her eyes to how the school runs with all the different teaching styles and students. The interim principal acknowledged that it is a lot more than just thinking about her science classes.

While she enjoys her position, she also said she misses teaching a lot. One of the reasons why she loved teaching was she could see the same group of students everyday. This allowed her to know them on a deeper level.

No matter what her job is here at NDA, Hearden said she will always stay committed to the school.

‘“I really believe in Notre Dame,” she told the class,.