Working Overtime: Teachers own businesses


Media by Anika Talyan (she/her)

Mary Kate Miesner, senior, currently works at Stefanina’s, which is owned by Brendan Taylor, social studies teacher. Miesner had Taylor as her freshman year soccer coach.

When Ashley Hobbs, social studies teacher, was approached by her husband about starting a wine company, she was “scared to death.” 

 “It’s a big investment, and so it was scary,” Hobbs said. “But I also think it’s also been really rewarding because seeing the perseverance in my husband is something that’s so admirable.”

Her husband is a sommelier, a wine professional, and he worked in the restaurant business.

In 2018, a property had just opened up in Maplewood, a community Hobbs said is supportive of small businesses. After buying the space built in the early 1900s, Hobbs’ family conducted a full renovation.

They opened their wine store, Chateau Maplewood, in 2019. Hobbs said they look for wine that has integrity but is affordable as well. They collaborate with small distributors that work with farmers to obtain the wine to sell in the store. 

Hobbs  said dividing her time between working as a teacher, working at the store and teaching her daughter the importance of family is a challenge.

However, Hobbs said she has been able to spend more time with her family because her husband went from working most nights to running a business with her.

This is nothing I thought that I would ever do, but I can’t imagine not doing it now.”

— Ashley Hobbs

“This is nothing that I thought that I would ever do myself, but I can’t imagine not doing it now,” Hobbs said.

Hobbs is not the only teacher at MHS to own a small business.

Doria Baldwin, special education teacher, created an ACT tutoring business 15 years ago.

She also teaches language arts, so her main focus in her tutoring business is the language arts portion. Baldwin goes to students’ houses and has two hour sessions, split between the reading and English section.

She said that she enjoys being her own boss and having her own customers.

“I feel like with my business, I can run it how I want,” Baldwin said. “I can set my own hours and  I can be flexible.”

Business is slower in November and December, but during the busy months, November through January, it can be challenging for her to balance her business and teaching job as well as helping her children.

Brendan Taylor, social studies teacher, bought Stefanina’s Pizza with his wife and another couple in 2019.

The owner of Stefanina’s spent more time at another location and felt that it wasn’t able to run the store as well as he wanted, so he sold it. Because Taylor’s wife had worked for the owner for 15 years and had a good relationship with them, he and his wife jumped at the chance, getting a second mortgage on their house to afford the purchase.

“It’s a risk for sure, leveraging the house as we did so,” Taylor said. “But she was passionate about it and she wanted to do it, and I believe in her.”

At Stefanina’s, Taylor mainly makes and delivers pizza because teaching is his main job, but he has learned about leadership. 

“You learn a lot about how to manage personalities, and how to push buttons in a positive way,” Taylor said.

Mary Miesner, senior, has been working at Stefanina’s since 2019.

Taylor was Miesner’s coach when she was a freshman, and when Miesner first said she was applying to work at Lifetime, Taylor offered her a job at Stefanina’s instead. 

“I love working at Stef’s,” Miesner said. “I get excited for my shifts, so I can catch up with everyone and see my work family.”

Miesner works as a cashier as well as working in the kitchens to make salads and prep foods. She said a lot of her coworkers come from MHS and because Taylor is a teacher, he is good at accommodating her busy schedule.

“Since most of my co-workers have school, sports and clubs, they understand our busy lives and work to cover for us when we need it,” Miesner said.