Varied career took educator from Indiana to Ohio to Kuwait and back

MICHIGAN CITY – Marie A. Arter is retiring from Queen of All Saints School after five years as principal, but with her wealth of experience, the educational field is fortunate that she plans to stay around.
    “I’m moving into semi-retirement, which will provide me with more time with my family. I will serve as an educational consultant and hope to serve a few international schools in a limited capacity,” Arter said as this most unusual school year was winding down last month.
    Working with international schools would be a natural for Arter, a Chesterton native who spent two years as the elementary principal of American Baccalaureate School in Kuwait City, Kuwait, a private, nonprofit school teaching an American-style curriculum.
    A Chesterton High School graduate, Arter received both a bachelor of arts (1982) and master’s of education (1986) from Ball State University in Muncie, Ind., and earned additional hours for an administrative license at Ball State and the University of Toledo in Toledo, Ohio.
    Almost all of Arter’s 38-year career has been spent teaching and leading at parochial schools, beginning with two years as a sixth-grade teacher at St. Ambrose School in Anderson, Ind., and nine years as a fifth-grade teacher at St. Lawrence School, Muncie, followed by six years as principal at St. Lawrence.
    Moving to Ohio, Arter next spent six years as principal at Gesu School, Toledo, and eight years as director of curriculum at Central Catholic High School, also in Toledo.
    Her next stop was American Baccalaureate School in Kuwait, before she arrived at Queen of All Saints.
    “I always had a desire to work internationally, so in 2013 I worked with a headhunter from Boston and accepted the position in the Middle East. I had traveled a lot, but not to that region,” Arter said. 
    “I was at an American school, which means the students are local Kuwaiti children. Families in the Middle East want their children to learn English from English speakers so they can be successful at U.S. universities. I had the emir’s grandchildren in my division of the school!
    “I learned a lot about Arabic culture and the Muslim religion. There is a huge Catholic diocese in Kuwait that allowed me to practice my faith with other expats from around the world, but mainly from India, the Philippines and many European countries. 
    “Kids are the same all around the world. I took advantage of my time there, 2013 to 2015, to travel extensively to eight countries, including United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, Turkey, Oman, Tanzania, Iceland and Malaysia. I also traveled home each Christmas and during the summer.”
    Sharing her knowledge with future teachers, Arter has also been an adjunct instructor at Lourdes University in Ohio (2008-11) and Purdue University Northwest in Westville (2015-17).
    “At both universities I taught a multicultural education class to students preparing to be teachers. I thoroughly enjoyed helping prepare the next generation of teachers because our students bring so many gifts to our classrooms. It may be that they speak Spanish at home and we need to celebrate and build on those skills.
    “Education continues to change and evolve, and I admire the speed at which Catholic schools can change,” Arter said. Just look at the pandemic and how quickly our Catholic schools moved to online learning. Additionally, it is a great privilege to interact and learn from people of various backgrounds.” 
    Asked what her favorite memory is, Arter responded: “There are so many! One of my greatest memories was when our school was selected and participated in the Latino Enrollment Institute at the University of Notre Dame. I met people from around the nation, all serving God’s people.”
    The most rewarding part of serving as a school principal, Arter added, “is being included in the lives of our learners and families. It’s a great honor to be at baptisms, communions, confirmations, weddings and other celebrations.”