Meet Dr. Nancy O'Neill Dowdle

I’ve spent 47 years in Catholic education, 32 of them at St. Augustin Catholic School. I grew up in Council Bluffs, Iowa, and I am a loyal St. Albert alumnus. I received my B.A. in music from Clarke University in Dubuque, Iowa, and went on to teach music at my alma mater and at The Immaculata in Chicago. Both my MA and Ph.D. are from the Loyola University of Chicago in Counseling Psychology. I worked at Loyola Preparatory School in Chicago as a counselor before moving to Des Moines to work at St. Augustin Catholic School. (My husband came along too.)

What I enjoy most about being the Principal: The best part of my job is the time I spend with the students. I love talking to the kids, interacting with them, having lunch with them. The students never cease to amaze me. They are smart and funny and resourceful and wonderful and kind. Need I go on?

My faculty is another reason I love my job as Principal. Every single one of my staff is hard-working. I have young teachers and veteran teachers, and I admire how they complement each other. They learn from each other, and I learn from them. I couldn't ask for a better bunch.

About my family: My husband, Jim,  retired from 29 years as Principal at Dowling Catholic High School here in Des Moines three years ago, and retired from teaching English there part-time in May 2018.  We have two daughters: Bridget and her husband Josh, and baby boy Conor who reside in Boston, and Meaghan who lives close enough to us to share Sunday dinner and a load of laundry now and then.

What I enjoy doing outside of school: I enjoy reading historical novels and mysteries, playing Candy Crush on my iPad after a stressful day, and traveling with my husband and children.

A funny story about teaching: One day a Kindergarten student came into my office to deliver a message from his teacher. He walked in to hand me the note, and as he was leaving, he pointed to the front office and said, “I really like your guards.”  Only when he left, did I realize he was talking about my two secretaries. ( And yes, they really are good guards.)