Archdiocese recognizes educators, volunteer

The Archdiocese of Louisville is celebrating three educators and a volunteer for their contributions to Catholic education.

They were meant to be announced during the Jan. 31 Catholic Schools Week Mass, which was canceled along with the school day after a covering of ice and a dusting of snow fell around the archdiocese early that morning. The Office of Catholic Schools now plans to present the awards individually.

Dr. Mary Beth Bowling, superintendent of schools, said the honorees “hit the high mark” in the Catholic Schools Week theme: Faith. Excellence. Service.

“Every one of these awardees hit it out of the ballpark,” she said. “They are committed to their communities and they are exemplifying what Catholic schools are all about.”

The honorees are:

Neil Hulsewede

Neil Hulsewede, principal of St. Rita School, has been selected for the Distinguished School Leader Award.

The award “recognizes the gifts of a Catholic school leader to Lead, Learn and Proclaim,” the Office of Catholic Schools said in an announcement about the award.

In nominating Hulsewede, the St. Rita community described him as “a model of faith-based leadership.”

“Under Mr. Hulsewede’s leadership at St. Rita School, faculty and students understand the importance of Catholic faith and virtues. … He has formed a Catholic identity team that focuses on the professional development of staff members and their ability to help students grow in their faith formation,” the nomination said.

Hulsewede has increased St. Rita’s enrollment by inviting families who attend the church’s Masses in Spanish to consider Catholic education for their children. By working in partnership with the Catholic Education Foundation, he prioritizes access to financial aid for school families, the nomination said.

Jennifer Richards

Jennifer Richards, a teacher at Holy Trinity School on the Clifton campus, is receiving the Irene Casey Catholic Inclusion Award.

The award honors the spirit of Irene Casey, an elementary school teacher dedicated to meeting “the diverse learning needs of students in Catholic education,” according to the Office of Catholic Schools.

Richards has served at several schools in the archdiocese. Upon joining Holy Trinity Clifton Campus when it opened in 2019, she used her background in special education “to collaborate with others to create a program, Catholic in its mission, and specific to the learning needs of students with language-based disabilities,” the nomination said.

According to the school, Richards has developed Holy Trinity’s student services by “providing extra tutoring, designing creative and individualized learning plans, creating after-school enrichment programs and planning field trips as an extension to the school day.”

Charles Leis

Charles Leis has been named the Outstanding School Volunteer.

Leis has served Catholic schools in the archdiocese in a volunteer role for more than three decades. He currently serves on the Assumption and Trinity high school boards.

Leis formerly served as head of EdChoice Kentucky, advocating to bring school choice to Kentucky families. He was a trusted advisor to the late Archbishop Thomas C. Kelly and Archbishop Emeritus Joseph E. Kurtz, the nomination said.

“The service Charlie models, despite never stepping inside a classroom, is an impactful lesson for us all,” his nomination said.

Terry Rogan

Terry Rogan, who teaches fourth grade at St. Gregory School in Cox’s Creek, Ky., has been named the Father Joseph McGee Outstanding Catholic Educator. The award will be presented by the Catholic Education Foundation at its Salute to Catholic School Alumni on March 8.

The award was established in 1988 to “commemorate Father McGee’s lifetime commitment to Catholic education. It is presented to a teacher who exemplifies this deep dedication to Catholic schools,” according to an announcement from the Catholic Education Foundation.
Rogan has been a teacher for more than 20 years.

“She is loving and compassionate, positive, helpful and most importantly faithful,” the nomination for the award said. “She engages her students in hands-on activities, thoughtful projects and expects them to stretch by presenting items in front of the class and sharing their talents with the school.”

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