20 Under 40: New leaders, classic values

Molly C. Reilly, 36
Alexandria Central School

Hometown:  Alliance, Ohio; settled in Black River in 1992
Professional position: Secondary social studies teacher, Alexandria Central School; adjunct instructor of social science, Jefferson Community College
Family: Husband, Clint; son, Joseph, 3; parents, William J. and Amy C. Flynn
Education: Bachelor’s degree in political science, LeMoyne College, Syracuse; master’s degree in political science, SUNY Albany
Community involvement: American Cancer Society Relay for Life; Boys and Girls Club, North Country Coordinating Council of Teachers past president; Model Schools English Language Arts and Social Sciences Curriculum Committee former chairperson; Jefferson County Democratic Committee delegate; American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations Jefferson, St. Lawrence, Lewis Counties Central Labor Council; Salvation Army soup kitchen; American Political Science Association; Central New York Council for the Social Studies and New York State Council for the Social Studies
Last book read: “The Myth of the Rational Voter: Why Democracies Choose Bad Policies” by Bryan Caplan

Molly C. Reilly, 36, has been a political junkie since she was a youngster.

The social studies teacher for Alexandria Central School has always been fascinated by politics, and her thirst for learning as an undergraduate studying political science at LeMoyne College in Syracuse gave her the know-how to pivot her career into teaching.

“My interest in political science evolved from a purely self-indulgent exercise [as a student] into a useful tool by which I could help people,” said Mrs. Reilly, who went on to earn a master’s degree in political science from SUNY Albany in 2001. Along with teaching high school students, Mrs. Reilly also is an adjunct instructor of social science at Jefferson Community College.

Mrs. Reilly said her passion for education was sparked during a college internship in 1997 for the Embassy of the Republic of the Marshall Islands in Washington, D.C. The research was about the impact of nuclear arms testing by the Army that occurred in the Pacific region, detailing the health and environmental concerns it caused for native people.

“I helped to create a permanent photo exhibit chronicling the nuclear testing and subsequent socio-political development of the Marshallese people,” she said. “That research aided in the development of educational materials for school children around the world.  It seemed inevitable, after such an experience, that I had to pursue a career in education.”

-Ted Booker
[Editor’s note: This is a truncated version of this story. For the full version, please see NNY Business in print or subscribe.]

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