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News

​Leaders honored who go beyond academics to shape and transform students through faith

May 18, 2021 | posted by Today's Catholic newspaper

Topics: Catholic Schools, Hope for the Future, In the Press, Breaking News


Leaders honored who go beyond academics to shape and transform students through faith

The 29th Catholic Schools Leadership Awards event held at St. Anthony de Padua Church May 7 had a different format this year but the same mission: to honor those who educate and invest in the success of the whole child committed to excellence in academics rooted in Gospel values.

Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller, MSpS celebrated a Mass in thanksgiving for the outstanding educators and he was assisted by three concelebrants; Auxiliary Bishop Gary Janak; Father Will Combs, BBD, pastor of St. Mary Magdalen Church; and Father Pat O’Brien, pastor of St. Pius X Church. Students from Blessed Sacrament Catholic School were the altar servers.

Following the liturgy the celebration moved over to the parish hall for the awards presentations, with Superintendent of Catholic Schools Marti West serving as emcee for the evening and the St. Anthony High School Mariachi Band providing musical entertainment. The opening prayer was given by Sister Elizabeth Ann Vasquez, SSCJ, director of the archdiocesan Office for Religious who ministered as a longtime educator and school principal.

Recognized as Educators of the Year were Jasen Anno of Antonian College Preparatory High School, Cynthia Gomez of. Blessed Sacrament School, Captain Dwayne Rhodes of Central Catholic High School, Nelly Ranara of Holy Name Catholic School, Gladys DeLaPena of Holy Spirit Catholic School, Anthony Uminski of Incarnate Word High School, Anissa Llizcano of Little Flower Catholic School. Michele Carr of Mount Sacred Heart Catholic School, Ellen Keneally of Notre Dame Catholi School, Cecilia Evans of Our Lady of Grace Catholic School in Pleasanton, Jennifer Adams of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic School in Selma, Theresa Schwartz of Our Lady of the Hills College Preparatory High School in Kerrville, Edna Torres-Perry of Providence Catholic School, Yolanda Zamora of Sacred Heart Catholic School in Floresville, Valerie Gomez of Sacred Heart Catholic School in Uvalde, Joanna Suarez of St. Anthony Catholic Elementary School, Alejandro Flores of St. Anthony Catholic High School, Diana Saenz of St. Gerard Catholic School, Melissa Dewey of St. Gregory the Great Catholic School, Rosario Castillo of St. James Catholic School in Seguin, Denise Marquez of St. James the Apostle Catholic School, Lisa Robertson of St. John Berchmans Catholic School, Denise Uriegas of St. John Bosco Catholic School, Gary Fagan of St. John Paul II Catholic High School in Shertz, Tresa Kennedy of St. Louis Catholic School in Castroville, Elizabeth Gonzalez of St. Luke Catholic School, Heather Reyes of St. Mary’s Catholic School in Fredericksburg, Alma Leyton of St. Mary Magdalen Catholic School Roland Hernandez of St. Matthew Catholic School, Laura Sheppard of St. Monica Catholic School in Converse, Gerard Munoz of St. Paul’s Catholic School, Tiffany Tovar of St. Peter Prince of the Apostles Catholic School, Kathryn Babel of St. Thomas More Catholic School, and Judy Geison of St. Peter and Paul Catholic School in New Braunfels.

Three schools — Holy Cross of San Antonio, St. Pius X, and Sacred Heart in Del Rio — named all of their educators as Educators of the Year.

Chosen from three nominees each were Archdiocesan Educators of the Year for elementary highs and high schools. The elementary school Educator of the Year was Ellen Kenalty of Notre Dame in Kerrville, and Captain Dwayne Rhodes of Central Catholic was selected as high school Educator of the Year.

School anniversaries were also recognized, with the dates also including milestones marked in 2020 during the coronavirus pandemic, as this event was not held last May due to COVID-19. Anniversaries marked were Holy Name Catholic School for 60 years Holy Spirit Catholic School for 55 years, Incarnate Word High School for 140 years, Little Flower Catholic School for 95 years, Our Lady of Grace Catholic School for 15 years, Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic School for 120 years Providence Catholic School for 70 years, Sacred Heart Catholic School in Del Rio for 120 years, St. Gregory the Great Catholic School for 65 years, St. Luke Catholic School for 55 years, St. Mary’s Catholic School in Fredericksburg for 165 years, St. Monica Catholic School for 60 years, St. Peter Prince of the Apostles Catholic School for 95 years, and Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic School in New Braunfels for 150 years.

Four Outstanding Leaders in Catholic Education were profiled in videos and then invited to come forward to accept their awards from Archbishop Gustavo and Bishop Janak. Each of the honorees also received a Hope for the Future Award of $1,000 to be presented to their schools for programming.

Outstanding Leaders were Elise Denoux assistant principal and athletic director of Providence Catholic School; John Mein, principal of St. Mary’s Catholic School in Fredericksburg; Gina Rodriguez, a parent and volunteer at St. Gerard Catholic School, and Sister Esiquia Silva Sanchez, FSpS, a religion teacher at St. Mary Magdalen School.

Catholic schools of the archdiocese consist of 37 schools across south central Texas for grades kindergarten through 12.