The Burns-Brady Family and Robert P. Brady Agency, Inc.
The Burns - Brady family has a long history of involvement with Dominican Academy. In the 1930’s, Maurice J. Burns became the insurance agent for the school. Since then, the company known as Maurice J. Burns, then Burns and Brady and now Robert P. Brady Agency, Inc., has been Dominican Academy’s insurance agent. For over 80 years, the Burns-Brady family has actively supported Dominican Academy.
Maurice “Maury” Burns was a first generation Irish - American whose parents hailed from Carrick-On-Suir in County Tipperary. Maurice’s wife was Loretta Veronica Houlihan whose family was from Cahersiveen, County Kerry. In the late 1880’s, both families settled in the Yorkville section of Manhattan, close to where Dominican Academy would start in 1897.
Maury and Loretta married in 1926 and were blessed to have two girls, Mary Jane in 1928 and Patricia in 1932. The family moved to Flushing, New York in 1930 and settled in the Parish of St. Andrew Avellino. Both Maury and Loretta became active members in the parish and also the parish school which was run by the Dominican Sisters of St. Mary of the Springs (Ohio) - the first interaction with the Dominican Sisters. Both daughters attended the parish school and after graduating from there, Mary Jane chose Dominican Academy as her high school. While Mary Jane was at D.A., her father, Maurice, was an active supporter and fundraiser for the institution. In 1946, Mary Jane graduated from Dominican Academy and went on to Marymount Manhattan College. Mary Jane married Robert Patrick Brady in 1953 and in the same year, Mr. Brady joined his father-in-law’s insurance firm. Mary Jane and Robert were fortunate to have five children, Robert Jr., Loretta, Sean, Clifford and Andrew. All five members of the Brady family are involved in the insurance agency as is Robert Jr.’s son, Christopher, who represents the fourth generation of the family to be involved in the agency.
We are grateful to the Burns-Brady family for their support of our school over these many years and for both their professional and personal connections to Dominican Academy.
Elissa Weil, '81
Elissa Weil has been proud to call Dominican Academy her second home for most of her life. A graduate of D.A. in 1981, Elissa attended Fordham University for her B.A. in English and Psychology, and Fordham Graduate School of Arts and Sciences for her M.A. in English with a concentration in American Literature. Before finishing her graduate degree, Elissa began teaching at D.A. in September 1988. Under the mentorship of Gertrude Gunset, her former teacher who inspired her to pursue the study of literature, Elissa taught almost every course offered in the department. After Mrs. Gunset’s retirement, Elissa was named English Department Chairperson, a position she holds to this day. While teaching, Elissa earned her teaching certification and, with the encouragement of Sr. Joan Franks, OP, ‘59, the principal at the time, went on to earn a M.S. in Building Leadership from St. John’s University. Elissa taught full time for 34 years and served as Dean of Students for more than 20 years. At the end of 2022, she made the decision to leave full-time teaching and accept a new challenge as D.A.’s Assistant Principal.
Elissa has been married for 28 years to the love of her life, Brian Thawley, who has been a constant source of support in all of her endeavors.
Elissa has seen many changes at D.A., but notes that the values and sense of community that make this school such a special place have remained consistent. She considers herself truly blessed to work with such a dedicated and talented group of professionals, many of whom have become lifelong friends, and to help educate students who can and will make a true difference in the world.