Alumni Spotlight: Jamie Stidd ’08
A Childhood Dream Come True
by Eric Haun ’12
Nearly all children imagine what they want to be when they grow up. Unfortunately, it is not guaranteed that these dreams come to fruition. In fact, recent studies have found that less than 30 percent of people land their dream jobs or work in a related field.
Yet, there is one childhood dream job in particular that many St. Joseph’s College students refuse to shake off: teaching.
This holds true for Jamie Stidd, a 2008 SJC graduate who spent much of her childhood playing school with her friends. “I always knew I wanted to be a teacher,” she said. “My whole life, I always liked kids. And once I started the program at St. Joseph’s, I knew that’s what I wanted to do.”
Now, Ms. Stidd is living her childhood fantasy teaching kindergarten at Holy Angels Regional School in Patchogue. She admits, though, getting there was not easy.
The job market for educators can definitely be difficult to navigate, especially on Long Island. But Ms. Stidd credits SJC for helping her to grow as a teacher and score a job.
Ms. Stidd felt St. Joseph’s College was the best place to begin her journey toward a career in teaching. As a sophomore in high school, she met with then-SJC admissions counselor Paige Napoli Carbone ’02 (now director of alumni relations) to discuss her goals.
“I remember going with my parents and being so excited that this is where I wanted to go,” Ms. Stidd recalls. “I knew I wanted to teach and everyone always said that that was the place to go if you wanted to be a teacher — It was the right fit.”
Ms. Stidd earned a scholarship, majored in child study, worked as a student work-study in the College’s admissions office and even joined the Child Study Club. Certainly, she was on the right path.
But with the congestion of teachers flooding Long Island’s workforce, finding a teaching position after graduation started to seem more like it was only a fantasy. “I reached a point where I couldn’t find anything, and I thought maybe I should start to think about doing something else.”
Another meeting with Ms. Carbone got Ms. Stidd thinking outside of the box. Ms. Carbone suggested the recent graduate shift her focus to working in a catholic school — a switch that was rewarded soon after graduation. Only a few months after receiving her diploma in May 2008, Ms. Stidd earned a job teaching full time at Holy Angels.
Like in most fields, aspiring teachers must sometimes redirect their efforts and make themselves stick out to earn a position.
“It’s hard,” Ms. Stidd empathizes, “but if you really want it badly enough, try to find some way to stay connected. Hang in there.”
But because she refused to give up, Ms. Stidd is now reaping the rewards of a lifelong dream.
“I love it,” Ms. Stidd said. “I have the best job in the world. Every day, I’m happy.”