By Jessica Able, Record Staff Writer
Two educators in the Archdiocese of Louisville have been honored by the National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA).
Gloria Thornburg, campus minister at Assumption High School, and Cathy Guizio, principal of St. Martha School, received their national awards at a ceremony in Houston, Texas,
during the NCEA annual convention on April 3.
Thornburg was one of six recipients selected for the NCEA’s Catholic Secondary Schools Department Educational Excellence Award.
The campus minister has been a faculty member at Assumption since 1981. She taught English for nine years and in 1990 joined the Department of Campus Ministry.
Thornburg, who just recently completed her doctorate in theology, considers herself a life-long learner.
“I don’t see how you can teach if you don’t stay a student,” she said in an interview at the school April 10.
Her passion, she said, for working with the young women of Assumption comes from her deep faith and also from the missionof the Sisters of Mercy, the founders of Assumption.
“I think the whole idea of educating young women is so crucial in our society because I think women are so influential in the lives of future generations,” she said. “The more empowered young women are the better mothers they’ll make and the better equipped they will be to pass on the faith.”
Becky Henle, principal of Assumption High School, said that in all her experiences in Catholic schools, she’s never seen someone as committed to Catholic education as Thornburg.
“Everyday, consistently and without fail, she embodies who we should be in Catholic schools,” Henle said. “Gloria has a strong personal faith and shares that faith with our students.”
Thornburg is a member of Church of the Epiphany and frequently attends Mass at St. William Church.
Cathy Guizio, who was named the Archdiocese of Louisville’s distinguished elementary principal last year, received the NCEA’s national Distinguished Principal Award for the Southern region.
The St. Martha School principal has spent more than a quarter of a century as a teacher and administrator in schools in the Archdiocese of Louisville. She taught at St. Aloysius School in Shepherdsville, Ky., and at St. James School in Louisville. She was the assistant principal of St. Gabriel School and later principal of Holy Family School. Guizio is now in her 13th year at St. Martha and in her third year as the school’s principal.
Guizio said she was “so surprised” and “very honored” to receive the national recognition.
“To be honest it’s a team effort,” she said. “It’s because of the people I’m surrounded with. Our pastor (Father Mark Hamilton) is extremely supportive. I have wonderful families and kids and an excellent faculty that help the kids be the best they can be.”
Growing up, Guizio always knew she wanted to be an educator.
“I have always known this is what God wanted me to be,” she said. “I have had excellent teachers who instilled a love of learning.”
Guizio said she still gets great satisfaction from working with students, particularly sharing and teaching the Catholic faith.
“In my position I get to celebrate at least three of the sacraments with the students here at St. Martha,” she noted.
More than anything else, Guizio said, she hopes her students leave St. Martha feeling well prepared and also with a strong connection to the parish.
“As elementary educators, we are the ones who set the foundations. Not only in academics but also in the Catholic faith. We have to be good role models,” she said.
Leisa Schulz, Superintendent of Schools, commended Guizio’s strong commitment to the Catholic identity of the school and nurturing both the students and teachers.
Schulz noted that a principal’s role in a school is very important.
“Principals definitely set a tone and create expectations for the formation and education that takes place in individual schools. A lot of what they do is behind the scenes from meetings, to budget and planning. Cathy makes sure all that occurs in a productive fashion,” Schulz said.
Father William P. Burks, who won the NCEA’s Southern region pastor award, was also honored at the April 3 ceremony. Read the story about Father Burks here.