Faith, Family, Farm

Miranda Chaplin is the beloved principal of St. Mary School, which sits on Main Street near the Church of the Annunciation with its soaring steeple.

Her belief in God is her guiding principle, as she balances the demands of her faith, family and her farm where sheep and cattle graze.

Miranda Chaplin races to give a parent a poster while school is letting out for the day. Miranda is the principal of St. Mary School, a mother of three and a farm owner. "Every day is unique," she says. "You just have to pivot."

Miranda and her husband, Ryan, have three children: Beau, 9, Reid, 7, and Aubrey, 5. He's a firefighter in nearby Lexington, regularly working 24-hour shifts, which means Miranda has the children for extended lengths on some days, first as parent then as principal.

"My husband is my rock,” she says. “I don’t know what I would do without him.”

Miranda began her career working for a nonprofit agriculture organization. That role required significant travel.

“It’s really hard to just jump on a plane and be gone for two days, three days a week,” she says. "When I was younger it was fun, but after you have three kids you can't do that.”

She left that career and, she says, waited for the Lord to tell her what was next. “God, I know you’ll be the way maker," she recalls praying. "You’ll show me where I’m supposed to be, so I’m going to listen."

And that's when St. Mary School entered her life four years ago.

She describes her job as “a calling” and her “mission."

“Any position I hold after this will never compare to the mission I’m carrying out right now," she says. "I would literally do anything for these kids."

Miranda sits with her daughter Aubrey after school but before meeting. "It's worth the blood, sweat and tears," Miranda says.

Miranda sits with Laura Çashku and her daughter Adea before the next academic team match. Beau, Miranda's son, competed with the 4th grade academic team and won his match.

"You wear a lot of hats when you're the principal and you have a small staff," Miranda says, including filling in for the P.E. teacher when she calls in sick.

Ryan cooked dinner so it was ready when the family got home from school. "When I'm at school, he will make dinner or help the kids with homework," she says.

Miranda reads a princess book to her daughter Aubrey, 5, before bed. Even though she leads a busy life, she makes a concerted effort to spend time with her kids.

Aubrey, 5, puts on her shoes while Miranda waits and holds her middle child Reid, 7, before piling in the car. "Beau is really the morning person and the other two, not so much," Ryan says.

Miranda leads the living rosary ceremony with the student body. "We only do the living rosary once a year so it's a very special time for the students and parents," she says. The students recite parts of the living rosary every day.

Miranda receives communion from Father Danny Fister at Friday morning mass. "My faith is the driving force behind what I do," she says.

Miranda says hello to one of her great pyrenees dogs, Millie, before feeding. "We've lost over 20 lambs this year so we got the dogs," she says.

Miranda points out a place where she can get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. "This is a place where I can come and just have some peace and quiet," she says. "It's just beautiful."

Made on