St. Mary Academy teacher wins award

By Jessica Able, Record Staff Writer

sadolsky-7.24.14-wTerry Sadolsky, the learning differences and special needs coordinator at Saint Mary Academy, has been named as the 2014 recipient of the Irene Casey Inclusion Award.

The award, which is administered by the Archdiocese of Louisville, is given to an educator, counselor or administrator “who exemplifies excellence in special education, especially in the area of inclusion,” a news release from the archdiocese said.

Sadolsky has been an educator in Catholic schools for nearly three decades. In nominating her for the award, St. Mary Academy principal Mary Alice Zettel described Sadolsky as “compassionate, gentle and caring.” And talk with her a while and it becomes apparent that Sadolsky genuinely wants the best for each and every student.

Sadolsky said that, as a child, she was greatly influenced by her own educators.

“When I was in school, I was a kid who needed help and support. It wasn’t so much academically, but I needed help and direction. I needed personal contact,” she explained.

She also recalled how her own children were aided and nurtured by specific teachers at St. Bernard School.

Sadolsky didn’t go to college to study education until after the birth of her twins, the youngest of her five children, she noted.

She received a bachelor’s degree from Spalding University. Later, she earned a double master’s degree in religious studies and education, also from Spalding.

She spent her first 15 years teaching at St. Rita School. She also taught at Holy Trinity and St. Martha schools. The upcoming school year will be her sixth at St. Mary Academy.

“I feel so blessed to have had a job I loved and feel called to do my whole life. I know that’s not always the case,” she said.

Sadolsky said she takes away so much joy from her work at St. Mary and acknowledges the “gifted, talented and dedicated educators” she works alongside.

“What I most enjoy is working with our families and supporting them and their loved ones,” she said. “I truly believe I am called by God to be here. This is what I’m partly put on this earth to do — to raise my family and to make my little corner of the world a safe and better place.”

She said it’s an honor to receive an award “named for a great, forward-thinking educator.”

“I do what I do because I love it and feel called to be where I am. But it is a really good feeling to be acknowledged because there are so many fabulous educators in my life,” Sadolsky said.

In Sadolsky’s nomination letter, Zettel wrote “… No stone is left unturned when it comes to assisting students who are struggling, or providing rigor and challenge for students who are capable of going above grade level. You will often see Terry assisting a student organize her/his locker, come in early to monitor a student who has extra time for tests on his/her plan …”

Zettel also described how Sadolsky meets with teachers before and after school to “get copies of class notes, study guides and check on due dates for projects in an effort to assist students with learning differences.”

Judy Thomas, assistant superintendent of Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Louisville, said Sadolsky’s nomination stood out among others because of the phrase Zettel used — “no stone is left unturned.”

“In the time I’ve known Terry she is approachable, she is compassionate and she truly wants to be able to help every student who may be struggling or who may have more of a challenge,” Thomas said. “That’s just second nature to her. She wants every child, regardless of their learning needs, to be able to feel successful and feel good about learning.”

Sadolsky and her husband Freddie have been married for 46 years and have five children — Michael, Stephen, Joseph, Kim and Kris — and 12 grandchildren. They are members of St. Bernard Church.

The Irene Casey Inclusion Award will be presented to Sadolsky at St. Mary Academy’s opening school liturgy next month.

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