LifeChanger of the Year Nominee Profile

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Mary Ann Safrey

Position: Assistant Principal
School: Archbishop Molloy High School
School District: Private
City, State: Briarwood, NY

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Mary Ann's nominator put together an amazing video supporting her nomination - check it out:

Comments (23)

Tiffany McCue Posted over a year ago

Ms. Safrey is one of the strongest women I know. She leads by example, and she was the first to show me that a woman can be beautiful, graceful, and compassionate while also being intelligent, creative, and assertive. Ms. Safrey is not afraid to dig into difficult conversations and share her own relevant truths with students. By sharing her own stories, she inspires students to open up about their own truths that have often been suppressed for too long. She builds trust and safety both in her classroom and office. Ms. Safrey showed me there can be power in vulnerability, and that the Arts can be an outlet for that. Her Drama class and Theatre Arts and Improvisation Club are major reasons why I currently study Theatre. Ms. Safrey believed in me before I had the capacity to do so. She was the first one to ever make me feel talented, special, and good at something. I would be incredibly lucky to be even a fraction of the woman, teacher, and artist that Ms. Safrey is. She is definitely a Lifechanger of the Year—and a major influence on my life. I am forever grateful.

Jonathan Mangar Posted over a year ago

MaryAnn is an outstanding administrator and teacher. Her heart is open and loving to all and she is the type of professional I aspire to be.

Carla Hanna Posted over a year ago

Ms. Safrey is very welcoming and kind to everyone that crosses her path! She guides all of the students at Molloy to be the best they can be in all aspects of life - academics, community, and self growth. I constantly saw the amazing influence she had on those around her, and through that she became someone I strived to be like. Thank you Ms. Safrey!

Nina Pesa Posted over a year ago

Ms. Safrey has always provided a safe environment for all students at Archbishop Molloy High School. I never had Ms. Safrey as a teacher of mine, but I was always able to connect with her and trust her when it came to academic and/or personal issues. I always felt that Ms. Safrey was a huge contributor the arts at Molloy and alongside Mr. Sheehan, and other teachers, presented her passion by encouraging students and being the drama teacher for seniors. Being in theater, I always felt that she knew exactly how to compliment each actor based on their specific qualities and performances that were specific to each person. She made me feel as if I was worth it, and that means the absolute world to me. Congratulations to a teacher who makes her students feel as if they deserve the world they dream of contributing to.

Jessica Petschauer Posted over a year ago

Ms Safrey is an inspiring leader, educator, and artist. Her passion for teaching is infectious, and I recall many a class becoming so completely entrhalled by Shakespeare that someone was often on the floor with a fake sword in their back before we realized the bell had rang. The diversity of her experience made her classroom one of the richest classroom enviorments I've ever had the pleasure of engaging in. In the course of one lecture she might relate her experience in dance, fashion, the corporate world, and being a mom, to the words on a page. She made dusty plays so relavant and really made us care about the work we did in her class. After school she was the first to put in long hours to help us develop a vibrant theatre arts experience. I went on to earn a Master's Degree in Theatre, and even in my most advanced course work I've found myself referencing her lessons. Beyond a deep appreciate of literature, I can sew because of the puppets she showed us how to make; every time I act I use the foundation of character study and movement that I learned in Ms Safrey's classroom; and her talent for creative solutions to a dizzying arry of problems have helped me reevaluate many problems differently. But Ms Safery was not just a teacher, she is one of the first empowering female leaders I've had the pleasure to know. She instilled her students with a sense of couragev and self worth, that has helped me navigate my professional career. It was not enough for her to break the glass ceilings she encountered, she made sure every one of her pupils were given the tools we need to meet every challenge we face. And I certainly haven't stoped learning from Ms Safrey when I walked out of her classroom door. She remains a life long cheerleader for all of her students. A constant life coach, and career advisor. Ms Safry was truly one of the most influential teachers I've had, and I'm proud to know her, and continue to learn from her.

John Doyle Posted over a year ago

Ms. Safrey is a teacher and administrator who exemplifies the school's motto of "not for school but for life" - she treats Stanners as an extension of her own family and has devoted herself to education.

Ashley Colletti Callagy Posted over a year ago

My memory for high school assignments completed over twelve years ago is as poor as anyone's, but I still recall details about poems I wrote in Ms. Safrey's Creative Writing class because I found her feedback so helpful and supportive. I was fortunate enough to take her English class in eleventh grade, as well, and still hold on to several of the books she taught, for my fondness for them. Outside of the classroom, I enjoyed building community with her on the Liturgy Committee, where we would plan and celebrate the spiritual gatherings for our school. Ms. Safrey has a way of forging lasting connections, in literary analysis, and in life. Returning to work as a counselor in Molloy's Guidance Department in 2016, I came to realize that one of the only things greater than having Ms. Safrey in class is working for her, as one of our administrators. As our immediate supervisor, I have collaborated with her on several complicated student cases, and she has tirelessly promoted student wellness throughout my employment. She is nurturing, wise, just, and creative in her problem-solving approach and in all interactions with students and faculty, alike. She expresses her thoughts in such a poetic way that impresses me daily. I am enormously grateful for her presence at Molloy, and hope that she knows even a fraction of the enormous impact she continues to make.

Frank Gentile Posted over a year ago

MaryAnn Safrey has undoubtedly changed my life. I still remember reading the part of Stanley Kowalski from a Streetcar Named Desire aloud in front of the whole class even though I was probably one of the most shy and reserved students. She guided me out of my comfort zone and encouraged me to go beyond the surface and delve into the living world of english literature. During my senior encounter, friends and family write inspirational letters that are opened on the trip. While most other students had a full envelope mine only had a few and among them was one from Ms. Safrey that I still read from time to time whenever I need some words of encouragement. Her dedication to her students and her craft is evident in the lives of those she has touched and I am glad to be amongst the many.

Chris Autera Posted over a year ago

I find that often, administrative school figures can seem cold and distant from students. Ms. Safrey, however, has proven to me that instead of rule-bearing figure heads, they can be guardian angels. At a stressful time in senior year, her Drama class allowed me to take a break from college applications and leadership expectations and really dive in and develop my skills as an actor. I never pictured myself writing, directing, and performing my own monologue, but with her assistance and support that I was able to strive for my full potential. It is this unwavering support that she exudes towards all 1600 students at AMHS that never fails to take my breath away.

Audrey Sabatino Posted over a year ago

Ms. Safrey sees potential in all of her students and wants to see them succeed. Her Drama class was one of my favorite classes that I ever took in high school, and she is one of my favorite teachers ever! She’s incredibly dedicated, patient, insightful, intelligent, and so much more.

Lydia Howrilka Posted over a year ago

Ms. Safrey is humble, respectful and enthusiastic for education and English. She's a true role model and inspiration for anyone who has ever sat in her class. Congratulations and best wishes!

Mariyanthie Linaris Posted over a year ago

As a freshman, I met Ms. Safrey one afternoon as she led the Theater Arts and Improv Club. I was amazed to see so many people enjoying themselves so much and so freely. Throughout my time at Archbishop Molloy High School, I became involved in theater, and I remember that Ms. Safrey was always one of our biggest supporters as we worked to put on plays and musicals. Being in her drama class in senior year was an amazing experience. Whether through theater games to make everyone feel comfortable or through the positive feedback as we wrote and performed our own monologues, Ms. Safrey always encouraged her students to take chances and become our best selves. It would have been easy to forget about the arts, but Ms. Safrey was, and continues to be, a champion for the arts.

Sarah T. Posted over a year ago

Ms. Safrey taught me that it was okay to have fun with literature. With her guidance, I stopped worrying about making a mistake and started to take risks. Her class helped me enjoy writing again and ignited a passion that carried me from high school through a college degree in English. Thank you!

Meghann Posted over a year ago

Ms. Safrey was my favorite teacher in High School. She was understanding, fun, and motivational. Through out all of the trials highschool brings, having a teacher who truly enjoys what they do has an unquestionable impact on a student's outlook. Her kindness and ferver for life were contagious. Taking her drama class really took me out of my comfort zone and I was all the better for it. Ms. Safrey deserves to be recognized for her life long dedication to the betterment of her students.

Jennifer Safrey Posted over a year ago

I love how one student in this video said she’s like a mom ... well, MaryAnn Safrey IS my mom. I can attest to many, many years of watching her work to assure her students’ academic progress and personal successes. She is absolutely tireless in making high school BETTER. She is devoted to the arts; and she was planning this class, literature for the immigrant experience, for a long while before it came to fruition. She is thrilled to teach it. I’m a teacher myself now and a community leader, and no small part of it comes from witnessing her passion for improving education and young lives. You couldn’t give this honor to a more deserving human than my mother.

Trisha Sobha Posted over a year ago

Ms. Safrey is one of the most outstanding teachers I have ever had. I took her creative writing and drama class my senior year of high school. It was one of the most difficult times of my life because I had just lost my father. Ms. Safrey allowed me to express myself and my grief in her class through writing and acting. Her compassion and her class allowed me to heal in ways I couldn't explain. Ms. Safrey's love for teaching has always been apparent to her students and she is a beacon of warmth at Molloy. Congratulations, Ms. Safrey. This is so well deserved!

al rossin Posted over a year ago

It might be hyperbolic, but Ms Safrey was indeed a life changer for me. In high school, I took about four or five English courses with Ms. Safrey; each one was enlightening and shaped my relationship with language and critical thinking in ways that I probably didn't appreciate at the time. However, as I made my way through college and my career, I come back to specific memories of lectures or writing exercises that unlock something I didn't know was there.

Christina Moonsammy Posted over a year ago

I had the privilege of having Ms. Safrey as my teacher for multiple classes during my years at Archbishop Molloy High School. She was one of the most influential teachers I've had throughout my ENTIRE academic life, college and all. Ms. Safrey instilled so many worthwhile values into me and there would be no other teacher more deserving of this award. I still remember her dedication and passion for Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, Cyrano De Bergerac and Romeo and Juliet. Ms. Safrey's approach to these works of literature allowed me to enjoy literature I never thought I would because it would be boring and uninteresting. Reading these works of literature during my high school years allowed me to broaden my novel and literature interest and delve into works of literature that I normally wouldn't gravitate to. There really is no other teacher in this world like Ms. Safrey and she fits the description of this award to the T!

Matthew Frenzel Posted over a year ago

Ms. Safrey has encouraged me more than anyone to truly pursue my dream to become an actor. She has supported me and taught me so much about not only how to express emotions as an actor but to know the motivation behind a character. Mary Ann is a beautiful, caring educator who has really given me the confidence to pursue my career as an actor and for this she has profoundly changed my life.

Michael Faello Posted over a year ago

When it comes to Archbishop Molloy educators/teachers being nominated for the top elite awards it comes as no surprise! Archbishop Molloy's educators are the quintessential examples of top shelf teachers really giving young adolescents the tools they need for a well-rounded education to score 100 not only the written exam, but at the game of life! Non Scholae Sed Vitae! Good luck!

Sydney Costello Posted over a year ago

Mrs. Saffrey is amazing. She was so understanding and supportive of my friends and myself through my years at school.

Casey McAuliff Sidlinger Posted over a year ago

When I think back to my educational experience, Mary Ann Safrey stands out as the most influential, hands down. Aside from being such a wonderful teacher, she truly cares about her students inside and outside of the classroom. She would always encourage my writing and provide specific examples that she enjoyed from my work. Sometimes, I really needed that encouragement. She's the type of teacher you look back and can't help but feel grateful they came into your lives. I can't think of someone more deserving!

Joe Sommo Posted over a year ago

Ms. Safrey is an incredible presence at Archbishop Molloy High School. She has served as a teacher and an administrator, however she has never let her busy schedule get in the way of her passion for theater and the arts. She has pushed for the betterment of these creative programs for the better part of two decades. She constantly looks for ways to encourage growth in the arts and works hard to keep alumni engaged in the school's creative programs. It is because of educators like her that certain programs are never overlooked at an institution such as Molloy.