Kathryn Marinos is one busy Parkside Intermediate teacher.
She is a technology teacher, yearbook coordinator, a member of the San Bruno Lions Club, a co-adviser of the Parkside Leos Club and an active member of Parkside and Crestmoor PTO meetings—all while raising two kids and managing a terminal illness that she was diagnosed with at 21.
“(Marinos) goes above and beyond in all that she does with the students, parents and teachers in the community,” said Katie Scott, a language arts teacher at Parkside. “What especially makes Kathryn stand out as an exceptional teacher and colleague is her caring, patient and supportive demeanor. She is a very valued part of the Parkside community.”
Marinos started at Parkside teaching language arts, but she has also taught science and an English-language supportive elective. She now teaches technology as an elective.
Her elective is designed for students to work at their own pace, she said. She thinks electives should be designed for success. Students generally can learn to create great content with a few basic skills.
Teaching at the students’ pace
“Often I run across students who know more about a certain program than I do,” Marinos said. “After all I am an immigrant to technology and they are natives.”
For these students, Parkside offers an afterschool club called the MOUSE Squad. Students run a helpdesk, which helps improve students’ computer knowledge.
“I am motivated to come to work because I look at my students as my co-
workers,” Marinos said. “I have had a lot of different jobs and the kids make every day an adventure.”
Marinos started teaching when she was 18 at a private preschool. She worked as a computer tutor during college and as a corporate computer trainer. She began teaching in public schools seven years ago.
“I have always wanted to be a teacher,” she said. “It is the second career I remember choosing as a child—the first being the Tooth Fairy.”
When she learned that being the Tooth Fairy wasn’t possible, she said, Marinos told her mom she would become a teacher.
Dedication to the community
Marinos is also a co-advisor of the Parkside Leos Club. While at a Lions meeting, she heard about the Leos and asked if Parkside could start a club. They got the okay, and have been improving Parkside and the San Bruno community ever since. They helped organize food donations for the North Peninsula Food Pantry, raised $600 for Relay for Life and $500 for P.E. teacher Sean Wada’s traveling basketball team.
“The Parkside Leos Club is her passion,” said Charles "Smitty" Smith, president of the San Bruno Lions Club. “This is the second year that (Marinos) has run the Leos program and they have done some really great projects.”
Soon the San Bruno Lions will be starting a community Leos Club, which Marinos will be leading along with co-advisors Katie Scott and Greg Pierce.
She is active in Parkside and Crestmoor PTO meetings because she feels it’s important to give back to the community you live in.
“I want my community service to be a good example for my children,” Marinos said. “I hope that they learn their voice and actions can make a difference in this world.”
Dealing with a terminal diagnosis
Right before she turned 21, Marinos was diagnosed with a terminal illness and was told that she only had about six months to live.
“After the shock wore off, I decided to live up to my own expectations, not anyone else’s ideal of who or what I should be or should do,” Marinos said. “I used to have lots of goals and plans, but now I only have one—be happy.”
She just turned 43 and plans to have many more years with her family, she said.
“My husband, John, and my children, Cora and Andy, keep me motivated to achieve the best I can everyday,” she said.