A fireball of enthusiasm and dedication, Chief Master Sergeant Mary Ann Gamache came to R-MA after serving in the Air National Guard (ANG) for over 26 years, with all but six months of that being active duty. After serving as an Air Force JROTC instructor for two years, the Richmond native moved to the position of college counselor, taking her energy, enthusiasm, and optimism with her.
While in the ANG, Gamache advised and provided technical expertise to the Air Surgeon’s staff and guidance to ANG medical units on staffing, training, education, and organizational development. That helped her develop a love of teaching. Knowing two retired chiefs who were already involved in teaching AFJROTC, she decided to look into it, and that path brought her to Randolph-Macon Academy to teach Aerospace I.
Chief Gamache enjoyed teaching JROTC for the two years in which she held the position, but she held a secret desire—to be a guidance counselor. It was a long-ago career goal that had been put aside. Throughout her ANG career, however, she had gotten as close to being a guidance counselor as she could—her master’s degree was in human resources, training and development, and she spent a significant amount of time doing career counseling in the Air Force.
Now, as the college counselor, Gamache has found a niche that combines a long-ago dream with a well-developed talent: counseling students in regards to their college choices and future careers. She immediately impressed the seniors with her interest in helping them and her ability to focus them not just on their college choices, but on their career goals.
“This is a joy,” Gamache said. “I love listening to the students’ dreams and helping them figure out how to reach those dreams, or helping a directionless student figure out what careers might fit his or her interests and abilities.”
In pursuit of making herself the best possible resource for her students, Chief Gamache has visited more than 150 colleges since taking the college counseling position in 2010. She has also developed numerous resources for the cadets to use, and, in coordination with the Parents' Association, she has brought in esteemed guest speakers such as Peter Van Buskirk and Dr. Steven Antonoff to help the students learn more about the college admission process. Her college counseling efforts with more than 500 students over the last decade have resulted in graduating classes that average a 100% acceptance rate, a 96% matriculation rate, and an average of $6 million in merit scholarships each year.
- M.S., National Louis University
- B.S., Bluefield College
- A.A.S., Community College of the Air Force
- Other activities: Mentor