March 21, 2008

Seven Hoosiers to be honored at education convention

Criterion staff report

NCEA Convention 2008 logoA science teacher from the archdiocese will receive a national award.

Another award winner from the archdiocese once led the world’s largest humanitarian agency.

And an Indianapolis woman who has dedicated 47 years of her life to Catholic education will also be honored.

They are among the seven individuals from the archdiocese who will receive national awards during the National Catholic Educational Association convention in Indianapolis on March 25-27. (See also: Welcome, Catholic educators!)

The archdiocese will also have a school, a parish, an organization and two lay governance bodies that will receive national recognition at the convention.

Here is a list of the award winners from the archdiocese:

Annette “Mickey” Lentz

The archdiocese’s executive director of Catholic Education and Faith Formation will receive the 2008 F. Sadlier Dinger Award, established to honor people for their outstanding efforts in Catholic education. The award is given by William H. Sadlier Inc. Educational Publishers.

When he announced the award, company president William Sadlier Dinger wrote to Lentz, “Your remarkable work has had a tremendous effect on Catholic education locally and nationally.”

Lentz has worked in Catholic education in the archdiocese for the past 47 years. She was a teacher and principal before joining the archdiocese’s Office of Catholic Education. She was appointed executive director by Archbishop Daniel M. Buechlein in 1998.

She has overseen intense progress in Catholic education with the receipt of a major challenge grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. that resulted in Project EXCEED—a multi-year school improvement initiative that has become a national model. She also headed an effort to organize an innovative consortium of urban schools in Indianapolis, now known as the Mother Theodore Catholic Academies.

Catholic Identity Awards

Five awards will be made to individuals, families, schools or parishes in the archdiocese as a joint recognition by William H Sadlier Inc. and the archdiocese. These awards affirm faith-filled work that effectively demonstrates our identity as a Catholic people. They are:

Archbishop Daniel M. Buechlein

He was installed as Archbishop of Indianapolis on Sept. 9, 1992. The archbishop currently serves as consultor to the Vatican’s Congregation for the Clergy and as co-moderator of the Disciples of Christ-Roman Catholic International Dialogue. He has also been a leader in the efforts of the U.S. bishops to bring religion textbooks into conformity with the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

During his 15 years in Indianapolis, Archbishop Buechlein has provided strong support to our Catholic schools with a special devotion to maintaining a Catholic presence in the Indianapolis center city.

James and Jackie Morris

Individually and as a married couple, James and Jackie Morris have made their mark on Catholic education and faith-filled leadership.

James Morris currently serves as special adviser to the chief executive officer and president for Pacers Sports and Entertainment in Indianapolis. Previously, he spent five years as the executive director for the United Nations World Food Programme, where he oversaw the world’s largest humanitarian agency. He has spent more than 35 years in leadership roles in business, philanthropic and humanitarian ventures along with a personal life of public service and volunteerism.

Jackie Morris is a volunteer teacher at St. Joan of Arc School in Indianapolis, was appointed to the Mother Theodore Catholic Academies board of directors, and is a member of St. Margaret’s Guild, the Childrens’ Museum Guild and the Day Nursery Auxiliary. She served as a longtime trustee on the board of Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School in Indianapolis.

St. Mary School in North Vernon

Since 1865, St. Mary School in North Vernon has created a rich Catholic tradition that focuses on moral values, academic excellence and spiritual, Christ-centered faith development. There is a strong partnership between parents, school, parish and community.

The school’s principal, Franciscan Sister Joanita Koors, serves on the special education committee of the Jennings County School Corporation. St. Mary School received a No Child Left Behind Blue Ribbon Award from the U.S. Department of Education in 2004.

St. Joan of Arc Parish in Indianapolis

This parish is an open and diverse community of faith which exists to love and serve God, members of the parish, St. Joan of Arc School and the neighborhood through prayer, worship, evangelization, outreach, education and stewardship.

Under the leadership of Father Guy Roberts, pastor, and school principal, Mary Pat Sharpe, this center city parish has become revitalized in recent years.

The Guardian Angel Guild of Indianapolis

This organization was founded in 1959 to financially support resource programs and resource teachers serving special needs populations in the archdiocese. The guild has been an “angel” to St. Mary’s Child Center and to elementary and high schools throughout the archdiocese. The guild works closely with the Office of Catholic Education to help best serve students with special needs. They are truly angels as they live their motto: “Assisting God’s children with developmental disabilities to reach their potential.”

Susan McGregor

A science teacher at St. Simon the Apostle School in Indianapolis, McGregor is one of 12 teachers from across the nation to receive the 2008 NCEA Distinguished Teacher Award from the NCEA Department of Elementary Schools.

McGregor has taught in various Catholic schools in Indiana, including the last 25 years in the archdiocese. With a strong belief that Catholic education is rooted in the examples of Jesus, McGregor states, “We are called to provide students with more than a curriculum. As teachers, we help students appreciate the gifts [that] God has given them and help them to communicate that appreciation to God in prayer.”

“Susan exudes the professionalism that is so important when working with colleagues and the adolescents she meets each day,” says Kathleen Wright, principal of St. Simon School.

E. Jo Hoy

The principal at Cardinal Ritter Jr./Sr. High School in Indianapolis will receive a Catholic Secondary Education Award from the NCEA Department of Secondary Schools, recognizing her distinguished service to Catholic education.

She was nominated by Ritter’s president, Paul Lockard.

“Mrs. Jo Hoy’s leadership has been significant in the renaissance of Cardinal Ritter High School,” Lockard says. “The mission of the school is to serve a diverse student body to achieve their academic, spiritual, social and physical potential. As a Hispanic, she has embraced the understanding that students of diverse backgrounds need the opportunity to interact in a safe, caring manner, but also in an environment of high expectations. She is an outstanding and deserving leader in Catholic education.”

She helped start a program of Everyday Spanish for police officers, teachers and other public workers with Marian College in Indianapolis, where she also teaches classes. Enrollment at Cardinal Ritter has risen from 380 students to 540 students during her tenure.

Board of Trustees at Our Lady of Providence High School in Clarksville and St. Luke Parish School Commission in Indianapolis

These two lay governance bodies will be recipients of the Outstanding Board Award from the NCEA Department of Boards and Councils. The awards seek to honor and showcase examples of outstanding boards, commissions and councils of Catholic Education that serve schools, (arch)dioceses or parish education programs so that their stories may inspire others to excellence.

Ann G. Northam

The director of religious education at St. Augustine and Sacred Heart of Jesus parishes in Jeffersonville will receive the Mustard Seed Award given by the National Association of Parish Catechetical Directors at their convocation.

The NPCD recognizes Northam’s commitment and dedication to children’s faith formation as invaluable to the work of the Church in spreading the Gospel.

Northam has been the director of religious education at St. Augustine Parish for the past 23 years. In July, she also became the director of religious education at the sister parish in Jeffersonville, Sacred Heart. The two parishes also share a pastor.

The nomination cited the many programs that Northam has sponsored for faith formation, including a family book club, the Living Rosary, Advent Fair and the Blessing of the Palms. †

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