Celebrating Ms. Ilene Nagem's 20 Years at OLP! - Academy of Our Lady of Peace (2022)

Celebrating Ms. Ilene Nagem's 20 Years at OLP! - Academy of Our Lady of Peace (1)

Ms. Nagem has dedicated the last 20 years to teaching at OLP! She is also an alumna of the school, Class of 1970!

Ilene Nagem '70 grew up in San Diego and was educated at St. Patrick’s San Diego and OLP, both CSJ schools. She studied history and political science at SDSU and began her teaching career in 1975. After a short time away from San Diego, she began teaching at Nazareth School in 1980 and joined OLP’s faculty in 2000. OLP has allowed Ilene to live out her two passions: teaching and making a difference in the world. Since her parents sacrificed so much to send her and her five siblings to Catholic schools, teaching at OLP is a testament to their gift. She has two daughters, Elizabeth and Frances, who are also OLP alumnae, and is proud to say she became a grandmother in 2016. After twenty wonderful years teaching at OLP, Ms. Nagem has made the difficult decision to retire.

OLP won't be the same without you, Ms. Nagem!

"Ms. Nagem was one of my favorite teachers. My favorite memory is how she would start class with jeopardy. She went above and beyond by incorporating current events from NPR every morning. I felt like I learned so much and had fun in jeopardy."
- Morgan Shingle '10

Celebrating Ms. Ilene Nagem's 20 Years at OLP! - Academy of Our Lady of Peace (2)

"I remember at one of our Academic League Meets in 2011, I noticed Ms. Nagem sneak a cookie out of her bag and pop it in her mouth. After the round I asked her if she had any extra cookies for me and she said, “You’ve got good eyes, you’ll make a great teacher”. Flash forward to 2020, I have been teaching for four years and when I’m in my own classroom I still think of her "Nagem-isms"- like her dancing while singing “the FCC won’t let me be” to help us remember information. I look up to Ms. Nagem for an inspiration of an educator who loves her job and can get silly with her students."
- Amanda Clawson '12

"Grateful to have landed in Ms. Nagem’s classroom on my first day at OLP. I transferred in mid-year, and her composure was the antidote I needed to quell my nerves. Her smile was kind and endearing. She exuded an air of no nonsense, but not in an authoritarian way. Even from behind a podium - she maintained a certain ease. Her classroom was one of mutual respect. She trusted we were up to the task of learning, and I (we) trusted her to lead the way. Thank you for the introduction to OLP! Will never forget it."
- Lindsey (Miller) Statton '02

"One of my first classes as a freshman was West Civ Honors with Ms. Nagem. Terrified of getting called on, I was relieved I was seated all the way in the back of the class, thinking I could hide behind a whole row of other girls' hair. But that didn't stop her. As she called out participation, she stopped at my name. She said I was sitting in Thomas Aquinas' seat. Did I know Thomas Aquinas, who the building was named after, sat there? I shook my head, not getting it was a joke, taking it seriously. She laughed, then other students, then I did. The next time she saw me, she called me Thomas Aquinas again. In passing. The more she did it, the more she made me feel important. I found myself brightening up when she was around, wanting to talk to her. I could've easily shied away and gone through the class like any other, but her personality doesn't allow that. She makes you feel special because she is special. This and all her other quirks have caused me, and others, to develop a deep fondness for her. She still, to this day, calls me Thomas Aquinas."
- Isabella Garcia '13

Celebrating Ms. Ilene Nagem's 20 Years at OLP! - Academy of Our Lady of Peace (3)

"Ms. Nagem is one of the most inspiring role models I had during my time at OLP. She genuinely embodies the spirit of OLP and is so intentionally dedicated to making sure that spirit remains central in all she does. She’s the definition of an empowered woman and it’s clear that she’s made it her mission to empower hundreds of young women like me. Ms. Nagem was also highly influential in my decision to major in political science. She instilled in me a love of politics and, most importantly, the importance of being an informed and thoughtful citizen. She is a constant reminder to do better, learn more, and stay actively engaged. I know for a fact that I’m one of many OLP graduates that thinks of Ms. Nagem every time I vote and I am so thankful for the time I was able to spend in her classroom.
- Vivian Mateos Zuniga '18

"Ms. Nagem is one of the best teachers I’ve ever had. She inspired me to learn more about the world and pushed me to follow my dreams of studying in Italy. She also pushed us all academically to work harder and learn something new every day with her 'This day in history' class warm-up. I hope she knows how special and important she is to the legacy of OLP. She truly is the best."
- Brigette (Cook) Wafer '12

"I transferred to OLP from public school in the middle of my sophomore year. Although I initially found life extremely difficult and lonely at OLP, Ms. Nagem always looked for ways to make me feel welcome, to participate, and to be heard. I started out with Ms. Nagem in West Civ, as the only sophomore in a freshman class, and continued with Ms. Nagem into U.S. History my junior year. She picked up on details of my day-to-day behavior that no one else recognized. For instance, she discovered that I had a knack for her daily, "This Day in History" trivia quizzes (which she brilliantly would make up on the spot), and she encouraged me to join Academic League. I may not have been a very good student at the time, but I was great at Academic League. Academic League proved to be my gateway not only into the OLP community but into what would become my career in academia. With Ms. Nagem as our varsity coach, we were undefeated my senior year.

Not only this, but Ms. Nagem also recognized that I had missed out on some typical OLP freshmen activities that all the other girls got to do. One day at thebeginning of my junior year, for instance, my brother was a freshman at Saints, andI was sitting outside Saints gymwaiting to take him home after his freshmen dance lessons. Ms. Nagem, who was chaperoning freshmen dance lessons that year, saw me from afar, stopped what she was doing, walked right over, and said, "You've never done freshman dances lessons. Get inside." I was theoldest girlin that room, and I danced those boys socks off.Mylittle brother wasacross the gym very embarrassed, Ms. Nagem was beaming, andI had the time of my life!

I can only accredit these amazing opportunities– alongside many of my other memorable moments at OLP– to the fact that Ms. Nagem not only cared about me, as she cares about all her students, but because she pays attention. From ancient history to current events, Ms. Nagem pays attention to the happenings of our world that continue to garner meaning. She pays attention to the way those happenings are organized into stories. She pays attention to how those stories form a history that ought to be indulged and retold, yes, but also also interrogated and reassessed. And in turn, Ms. Nagem tirelessly works to make teenage girls pay attention to the voices of the past that did not make the history books. From young women like ourselves to the victims of genocides, Ms. Nagem pays attention to the silenced, and she grants them a seat and a voice in her classroom. I can safely say that Ms. Nagem has not only shaped who I am as a woman in the world, but she has also outlined the educator that I would like to become one day."
- Marie Shelton '12

“Although I never had Ms. Nagem in one of her exciting history classes, I was able to work with her during my freshman year since she was our class moderator and I was on the freshman class council, as well as my sophomore year on the Mock Trial team!

I loved seeing Ms. Nagem everyday because she always had a smile on her face and no matter what would always make you laugh. She was always pushing me to be the best version of myself everyday, and because of that I have been able to become more confident and sure of myself and my work. Not only do I love and appreciate Ms. Nagem, but my sisters who are both OLP alumni have countless stories about Ms. Nagem that they will cherish forever. OLP and I will miss Ms. Nagem but I thank her for all the kindness and opportunities she has given me since my first day at OLP!”
- Katiana Yazdani Bosdet '22

“Ms. Nagem definitely terrified me at times but she had a heart of gold that I was lucky enough to see. She cared so much for her students and was so passionate about her job I will never forget all of the times she stayed late after school multiple times a week for our mock trial practices. As the sign on her door once said, her room truly was ‘The room where it happens.’”
- Alex Neves '18

"I was a sophomore in Ms. Nagem's history class on Sept 11, 2001. To this day she is part of my 'where were you on 9/11' story. I don't remember at all what we talked about that day -- just that she cleared the lesson plan to make space for us to talk about our reactions, thoughts, feelings, and how we thought history would remember today. Maya Angelou once said 'people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.' Ms. Nagem made us feel safe to be vulnerable, made us feel valued and heard, and showed us the value of allowing that space for everyone without judgement or qualification."
- Jenn Hill (Hansel) '05

"Congratulations to Ms. Nagem '70 (aka my mom) for a wonderful teaching career (40 years of teaching, 20 of those at OLP)! Her spirit will live on forever as an alumna, OLP parent, and loving teacher. Her teaching magic truly was in the 'room where it happened.'"
-Frances Nagem Kuhn, '04

Celebrating Ms. Ilene Nagem's 20 Years at OLP! - Academy of Our Lady of Peace (4)

“Ms. Nagem definitely terrified me at times but she had a heart of gold that I was lucky enough to see. She cared so much for her students and was so passionate about her job I will never forget all of the times she stayed late after school multiple times a week for our mock trial practices. As the sign on her door once said, her room truly was ‘The room where it happens.’”
- Alex Neves '18

"Ms. Nagem was an empowering woman who pushed me and all of my fellow classmates to the max even with the pressure of learning geography and Latin key phrases that I still remember to this day. One of my favorite memories outside of working with her in the Academic League was in freshman world history with our class showing her the song "Status Quo" from High School Musical as she was teaching us these Latin phrases. She was in awe that we knew all the words and the happiness that what she was teaching was still passionate to us, just resonated in different ways. Ms. Nagem was a teacher who I was and always will be very fond of because she pushed me to be my best self and made me want to learn everything about the world that I could. And we both have the same great name, maybe, just for her anniversary, I can say hers is spelled the superior way."
- Eileen Reh '18

"Ms. Nagem is truly the only teacher I can imagine haunting my nightmares. Why? Because I didn't register to vote, of course. It is so fitting that as an AP U.S. history teacher, she constantly emphasizes that we have the ability to make history."
- Kate Linggi '21

Celebrating Ms. Ilene Nagem's 20 Years at OLP! - Academy of Our Lady of Peace (5)

"Ms. Nagem was my favorite teacher at OLP, and was so gifted at opening our minds to the world outside of the walls we were so lucky to find ourselves in. Ms. Nagem's Civil Rights Elective my senior year brought the Civil Rights Era to life for me, and created a spark of interest in politics that has lasted past my time at OLP. She made me understand that being a civic-minded citizen is not only about making sure I have representation, but to speak up for those who do not have the opportunities that I have. Ms. Nagem's strong voice for the equality of all people has been an inspiration to me for over 10 years and has led to me volunteering throughout my career for organizations that fight for the equality of all lives. Thank you for the passionate lessons, Ms. Nagem! You will be greatly missed!"

- Megan Sanderville '09

"I had Ms. Nagem for 3 years as a teacher and also loved being part of Academic League with her! Many of my fondest memories of OLP have to do with Ms. Nagem! My favorite memory with her was going on a day-trip to Sacramento with two other classmates to take part in a tour of the State Capitol and participate in legislation events through the LegiSchool Project. She was such a fantastic teacher and I still remember random history facts to this day because of her. Unfortunately, I have lost my finely tuned skills I developed in her class of identifying all the European countries on a map but I will never forget that 'the beauty shop opens at 2:15!'"

- Haley Antoine '15

"Ms. Nagem was one of my favorite teachers in high school. She instilled in me a love of history and my fond memories of her and her classes led me to pursue a single subject credential in Social Science in addition to my credential in English. My experience in American History in Ms. Nagem's class was so positive that I signed up for Government over the summer just to once again have her as my teacher. It also freed up time so that I could take her 21st Century American Issues class my senior year. She began each day with reciting "This Day in History" facts and it always reminded me of how we are living history now. Ms. Nagem is an outstanding educator and she made me want to become a teacher myself."

- Julia Wilson '09

"Ms. Nagem, an impactful and inspirational teacher, a supportive and positive coach, a beautiful human being whom I have so much love and respect for. I first met Ms. Nagem during my HSPT, and ever since she’s been a priceless gift that kept on giving. From fangirling over Hamilton together to sharing her extensive knowledge of facts (I am still confused as to how she hasn't gone on Jeopardy and won), I am incredibly grateful for all the memories we have made these past four years.

Ms. Nagem, you are truly a blessing! I am a better person for knowing you. Your wisdom, kindness, teachings will stay with me wherever life takes me and whatever I do in the future. Thank you for everything and know that you are truly one of the best and brightest that OLP had to offer! I will miss seeing your smiling face on campus! P.S. I won't forget to vote!"
- Gabriella Nechita '20

"Ms. Nagem is one of my favorite teachers because she always lit up with such joy when she taught! There wasn’t much I thought was interesting about history until I was blessed to have her class. And now I have her to thank for my love of history!Thank you Miss Nagem! "
-Talea Celiceo '12

Celebrating Ms. Ilene Nagem's 20 Years at OLP! - Academy of Our Lady of Peace (6)

"When I look back on teachers that shaped my outlook on education, Ms. Nagem rises to the top of my list. I was lucky enough to have her as a teacher in 7th and 8th grade before she came to OLP. She instilled the importance of voting in our family long before we were able to officially cast a vote. She taught me that history was more than just dates- that history is truly about people and the impact they have throughout time. When I look at my own children I am often reminded how she opened up my mind in a new way to history, and I hope to instill that same sense of wonder in them that she instilled in me. Ms. Nagem will ALWAYS be one of the greatest educators to impact my life."
- Desiree Wright '00

"When I look back on teachers that shaped my outlook on education, Ms. Nagem rises to the top of my list. I was lucky enough to have her as a teacher in 7th and 8th grade before she came to OLP. She instilled the importance of voting in our family long before we were able to officially cast a vote. She taught me that history was more than just dates- that history is truly about people and the impact they have throughout time. When I look at my own children I am often reminded how she opened up my mind in a new way to history, and I hope to instill that same sense of wonder in them that she instilled in me. Ms. Nagem will ALWAYS be one of the greatest educators to impact my life."
- Desiree Wright '00

"Thanks to Ms. Nagem, I understand, acknowledge, and exercise my power and right to vote. She is an academic and professional pillar who transmits her enthusiasm for teaching every single day. Truly one of the best professors I've had in all my academic career. Thank you!"
- Ximena Aragon '16

"I just graduated college this past June, and Ms. Nagem is a big reason why I decided to get my BA in History. She made me fall in love with history, starting with Western Civ in Freshman Year! Academic League will forever be one of my favorite memories, because she was such an amazing coach. My OLP experience would not have been the same without the wisdom and kindness of Ms. Nagem!"
- Megan Grosse '16

Celebrating Ms. Ilene Nagem's 20 Years at OLP! - Academy of Our Lady of Peace (7)

"When I was a freshman, my section was 9s1 with Ms. Nagem. By coincidence of the alphabet, I sat in front of one of my best friends to this day, Kaseba. She always had to quiet us down during announcements, but she talked to us every morning about history, what we did over the weekend, and current events. She has always encouraged the two of us in all we do, still checks in with us, and is one of our biggest cheerleaders. She loves all of her students and always wants us to be educated, and have some good clean fun!"
- Maggie Brady '19

"One thing I loved about Ms. Nagem’s class is that anyone could tell she genuinely cares about what she’s teaching and her students. She always had an open mind about different things that would come up in class discussions, and tried her best to make sure everyone’s opinions were heard and not shut down."
- Ciana Yates '19

"What can possibly said about a women who has touched the hearts of a whole family? From attending OLP with my auntie and mom, to teaching my two siblings, three of my cousins, and myself at Nazareth to being a huge part of my daughter’s lives at OLP. To say favorite is an understatement! Ms. Nagem is family. With the sincerest love and gratitude for all you have done to educate and love my family and me. It was my absolute honor to be your chief blackboard washer! Keep on listening to ABBA, quoting Charlie Brown, and know that you are loved more than we can express!"
- Vanessa Piraino '93 and family

"I had the privilege of having Ms. Nagem as a teacher, a coach, and an advisor— she was wonderful in each role. I encountered her during my first year at OLP when she was my class council moderator, where I made sure to pull down my skirt before each meeting to avoid the stern but loving "tsk tsk" that was sure to follow. Ms. Nagem and I both love trivia. From her "This Day in History" quizzes before each class to her Jeopardy updates, she inspired my own love for random knowledge, which I used on the Academic League team that she coached. Our motto was a hidden gem among famous Ms. Nagem sayings: "Get a Hunch, Bet a Bunch!" I still embrace those words, reminding myself when necessary to trust my gut and take a risk, just like we did behind those buzzers. Finally, I had the pleasure of taking her AP U.S. History course. Ms. Nagem made each class engaging, educating us not only on the facts, but charging us to go further, ask questions, and make connections across cultures and periods. It is because of her that I am studying history in college— she showed me how valuable it was to put the world in context, to trace our present back through the past in order to understand the future."

- Molly Schroeder '19

Celebrating Ms. Ilene Nagem's 20 Years at OLP! - Academy of Our Lady of Peace (8)

"Ms. Nagem she was my coach in Academic League and she would frequently remind us to trust our guts and "Get a hunch, bet a bunch." I still keep this confidence-boosting phrase in mind when I second-guess myself. I also had Ms. Nagem for Government during the 2008 election and she passed along her enthusiasm and passion for voting to her students. There are so many stories of how Ms. Nagem helped me realize my potential, her advice during a career day helped me realize my calling to be a teacher, her 'This Day in History' facts helped me realize the interconnectedness of history, and her Peanuts comics and baubles prompted me to get a Peanuts calendar which I read with my dad throughout high school strengthening our relationship. I cannot thank you enough Ms. Nagem for the impact you have had on me and so many others."
- Michelle Yang '09

Top Articles

You might also like

Latest Posts

Article information

Author: Tuan Roob DDS

Last Updated: 11/22/2022

Views: 6108

Rating: 4.1 / 5 (62 voted)

Reviews: 93% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Tuan Roob DDS

Birthday: 1999-11-20

Address: Suite 592 642 Pfannerstill Island, South Keila, LA 74970-3076

Phone: +9617721773649

Job: Marketing Producer

Hobby: Skydiving, Flag Football, Knitting, Running, Lego building, Hunting, Juggling

Introduction: My name is Tuan Roob DDS, I am a friendly, good, energetic, faithful, fantastic, gentle, enchanting person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.