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Summer Kish, Director of Religious Education

Summer Kish spent most of her childhood bouncing from church to church as her family tried different faith traditions.

But it was after meeting the man who would become her husband that she discovered the Catholic Church has the answers to all of the questions with which she had struggled her whole life. As a pregnant mom, she completed the RCIA process here at St. Francis Xavier Parish with RCIA director Jenny Bonarrigo and her sponsor Julie Gaume, and entered the Catholic Church in 2008.

Since then, Summer has been actively learning more and growing in her faith through participation in a weekly women’s Bible study group, helping with Vacation Bible School and teaching fourth-grade PSR.

Now, in her new role as our parish’s director of religious education (DRE), she looks forward to sharing that faith with the children and youth of our parish.

“I feel incredibly blessed to have this opportunity,” Summer says. “God has a plan for us all, and I really feel like, until he showed this one to me with a neon sign, that now I really understood this is what I should be doing. I have felt so much warmth and support from everyone at St. Francis Xavier, and the volunteers with whom I have had the pleasure of speaking are truly incredible and inspiring. I feel proud to call this church my home.”

After graduating from Chardon High School, Summer attended Hiram College, where, as a fellow elementary education major, she met her husband Dave. She worked as an intervention specialist in Marion for one year, and an intervention tutor in the Kenston Local Schools for one year, then taught fifth grade in Painesville Township for five years, when she earned her master’s degree in curriculum and instruction in 2005. Dave is now the curriculum director at Keystone Local Schools in Lorain County.

“Teaching is my passion, and I want to impact as many kids as possible and strengthen their faith formation,” she says.

Summer and Dave have three children: Alec, 10; Olivia, 8; and Dylan, 6. All three attend Ella Canavan Elementary School, where Summer has coordinated the room mothers for the school’s PTO and she is a co-leader of her daughter’s Girl Scout troop. She also has helped lead our parish adult softball league for eight years.

As DRE, Summer wants to encourage fellow parishioners to take a leap of faith and offer to help instruct our children.

“We volunteer for sports, clubs, and many other activities for our children, and while I don’t diminish the importance of those, I feel in my heart that this is an area of too much importance to be struggling to fill those ministry positions,” she says. “We are helping children understand our faith and hopefully instill a curiosity and love to last their lifetime.”

Drawing upon her curriculum-development skills, Summer has been working to provide PSR teachers with thorough materials to support them in the classroom.

“Keep your heart open and your ears attuned to God’s calling in your life. God know best,” she says. “If you have thought about helping, but are worried or just have questions feel free to email or call me and we can talk about many different opportunities to help. This is the next generation of the Church.”