We don’t always know where God will lead us — but if we stay open to His plan, we can be assured great things will happen! Our New Mater Dei Academy Principal, Karen Trunk, believes this wholeheartedly. The Lord made it very clear to her that she was meant to be here. That has been confirmed since the start of the school year.
“God put this opportunity in front of me and gave me very specific signs that this is what He wanted me to do,” Mrs. Trunk says. “It’s been proven again and again. The skill set I have and things I learned in the past — it’s all exactly what I have needed here.”
Mrs. Trunk spent 16 years at Mentor Public Schools, then became Principal at Notre Dame Elementary and Middle School in Chardon. She has been in education for 39 years.
As we start the new school year, Mrs. Trunk looks forward to moving forward with the school goals — MDA, which is also the acronym for Mater Dei Academy. In this instance, MDA stands for moral values, discovery, and academic achievement. Moral values flow from the Catholic Faith foundation of the school. Discovery is for the STEM accreditation. Continuing work as a STEM school is important to Mrs. Trunk. Academic achievement is the school’s commitment to making sure all students thrive.
“In my first year, I want to continue with the good work the school has been doing all these years,” Mrs. Trunk says.
The school also wants to teach solidarity using stories from the Bible.
“We want to teach empathy,” Mrs. Trunk says. “We work together. We collaborate. That’s really what Jesus wanted.”
This year, the school has added enrichment classes for sixth to eighth graders. Mater Dei Academy is known for its academics, but what stands out most to Mrs. Trunk is celebrating the Eucharist together. When she serves as an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion and gives the children the Eucharist, that’s a special moment. Mrs. Trunk feels blessed to be working in Catholic education.
“Even when discussing discipline issues with a child, it’s all about being your best self that God wants you to be,” she says. “I could think it in a public school, but here, I can be overt.”
Mrs. Trunk lives in Fairport Harbor and is a member of St. Helen Catholic Church Parish in Newbury, where she has been involved in many ministries over the years. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her adult children, Richelle and Aaron. She also volunteers at Project Hope for the Homeless.
Through the witness of their children, Mrs. Trunk hopes to see more families returning to Mass. Parents must be modeling what their children are learning at school. Mrs. Trunk has seen parents come back to the faith through their kids.
“As adults, we are role models for our children,” she says. “The way we speak to them, the way we demonstrate our faith, and the way we demonstrate our excitement for learning — they pick up on all