Margaret Coley Shares Expansive Community Roles

Betsy Fries, Creative Director

Margaret Coley has been at Blake for the past two years as the Receptionist and Administrative Assistant. Her work is expansive as she often focuses on logistical matters and collaborates with Elizabeth Nguyen the Attendance Coordinator and Administrative Assistant as well as Cathy Lynch the Office Administrator. Coley shares that her biggest roles are managing the school calendar, handling printer maintenance issues, filling in as the school nurse, and communicating with parents. If you are wondering how something gets done, chances are Coley has it figured out. 

She has never experienced a normal year as she came to Blake in Oct. of 2019 and that following spring school was virtual due to COVID-19. She previously worked at an elementary school called St. Alphonsus Catholic School in the front office. Switching from a school that had “ about 150 students in PreK through 8th…and [the number of] faculty staff, including specialists, was probably 12” has been a major shift for Coley but she has enjoyed the process thus far. 

What made you choose to work at Blake? 

“I liked the community, but I knew I wanted to do other things and meet new people, and get out there a little bit. It really appealed to me and the fact that [Blake] is a bigger school, but it’s not huge. I love the location, it’s not far at all, I have a great commute. I love that every morning when I drive in I get to see the Sculpture Garden.” 

What are your favorite parts about working at Blake? 

“I think my favorite part about my job is that I do a lot of different things and so I am never bored. Every day is different… One of my favorite things about Blake is definitely the staff and the faculty. I feel like we are so lucky here, honestly that we have the staff and the faculty that we have, and I don’t feel like you get that at every school. I feel like the people who are here really want to be here and you can tell that they want to be here.” 

What is it like working at the school your son, Liam Coley ‘25 attends?  

“The nice thing about Blake is that it’s big enough that if he doesn’t want to see me, he doesn’t have to see me… There was enough space that it’s not like I had to see him all day long, sometimes I literally just saw him when I dropped him off in the morning and not until the end of the school day. It’s also really nice to see and meet your son’s friends. It’s nice to be able to know, not all of us [parents] get that advantage. So it’s nice to be able to know who he’s hanging out with.” Coley also shares the benefits of sharing a schedule, stating, “I really liked that I could have a school schedule. I don’t work all summer, I have some time off in the summer, holidays, that kind of stuff, so it’s nice to have a schedule that works with his school schedule.”

What do you do in your free time? 

“I’m trying to learn more like woodworking and making things. I would love to take some kind of a class, I’m definitely self-taught or YouTube. I follow lots of home decor blogs. We recently made my dog a dog bed and that was our first project. I would love to do more of that, I’m just dipping my toes in. I love to paint. I love to do things around the house, home decor-wise. We hike a lot. We have a dog that has a ton of energy, so we hike.” 

What is your favorite movie or show? 

Although her favorite movie is “Oslo,” Coley shares that, “The Great British Baking Show” and “The Handmaid’s Tale” are some of her “favorite shows.” 

Where is your favorite place to eat?

“For pizza, it would be Element in North Minneapolis off Broadway. I also really like Black Sheep. I’m having a tough time thinking about it, I feel like we hardly go out to eat anymore. I kind of feel like the past two years it really has been places we feel safe. I feel like Red Cow is always a good idea. Someone is always going to like something.”  

If you could give any advice for the Upper Schoolers to know, what would it be? 

“I would say to don’t stress out so much and to enjoy it [the high school experience] like it really is going to be over before you know it, and I feel like that applies to so many different things. I feel like you don’t want to regret stressing out or worrying so much about things that you really have to enjoy it.”