Matt and Frances Micciche began their romance more than 20 years ago in Japan. At the time, however, neither of them had ever met nor even knew the other existed.
Instead, it was a mutual acquaintance that predicted the two were destined to be together.
“I was teaching elementary art at a public school outside of Boston when I applied for an amazing grant that brought me to Japan,” said Frances. “Matt was an educator in Delaware, and a colleague of his was part of the same teacher exchange program in Japan. When we met during the program, about an hour into our conversation, he said, ‘I know your future husband.’”
A year later, Matt and Frances finally had the chance to meet in Boston.
“And, of course, we agreed with him!” Matt said of his colleague’s prediction.
Today, the couple has three sons: David (13), Jason (15) and Peter (18).
Matt and Frances admit they never asked their friend what it was that made him so sure the two were perfect for each other. But the couple does share a passion for education and community and a belief that teachers and students together can change the world.
Matt has been an educator for nearly three decades — including 10 years with the Wilmington Friends School in Delaware and 16 years as the Head of the Friends School in Baltimore.
This past July, the couple moved to School Lane Hills, where Matt now heads Lancaster Country Day School.
Before moving to Lancaster, the couple had made several summer trips to the area, taking their sons to Dutch Wonderland, the Turkey Hill Experience and the Strasburg Railroad.
“We both knew a little about Lancaster as a city and a region,” Matt said. “But at every step of the way in talking with Lancaster Country Day, I became more and more interested because of what I saw here at the school. In talking with people about the nature of the relationships between teachers and students and parents, it’s clear this was a community committed to fostering certain values — kindness, respect, treating others with dignity and compassion; all the qualities you want in a school environment.”
To help foster that positive environment and build bonds with his new students, Matt stands outside the school every morning to greet parents as they drop their children off for class.
“It’s great to see the smiles of the little guys as their parents literally hand their children over to us to care for them,” Matt said. “I love to see brothers and sisters get out of the car and see the older one take the younger one by hand and walk them up to the embrace of their teachers, where they know they are safe and cared for.”
While Frances no longer teaches, she also helps neighborhood students grow their skills and interests by regularly organizing school events and celebrations at the couple’s home on Marietta Avenue.
She recently hosted an event with a sixth-grade Chinese language class where the students learned to bake traditional “Moon Cakes.”
Frances herself is known for her skills in the kitchen.
“She’s a master of themed snacks,” Matt said. “When the kids were studying bugs in kindergarten, she would make bug-shaped snacks. She’s done Christmas trees made out of fruit and robot snacks. Just give her a theme!”
Over the years, Frances has also become known for making unique and intricate Halloween costumes for the family. But, she said, as her sons have gotten older, they’ve begun to opt for store-bought options.
“An end to an era!” she joked.
Frances cultivated her creative skills while earning her BFA at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University, where she studied everything from watercolor to paper making.
“Art is my dormant passion,” she said. “With the kids, I have not been a practicing artist for a while.” But she hopes to get back to her artistic roots soon.
Matt and France’s oldest son recently started college at the University of Maryland, where he is studying economics.
Their two younger sons are in eighth and 10th grade at Lancaster Country Day.
Matt said his children have all grown accustomed to having their father serve as the head of their schools.
“It’s been this way since they were born,” Matt said. “They both acknowledge me when they see me in the hall, which is good. I haven’t done anything to embarrass them yet! They might actually admit they like it if they were forced to.”
All three of their sons enjoy sports, particularly baseball. Their middle son, Jason, has also been involved in theater at his previous schools and is looking forward to continuing that pursuit at Lancaster Country Day.
As for Matt and Frances, they have begun exploring the many walking and biking paths across Lancaster and are making the most of the area’s restaurants.
“We love the beautiful scenery and the architecture of the neighborhood,” Matt said. “There is a real sense of vibrancy in Lancaster. There is no lack of things going on.”