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Education award nominees now accepted

By RENEE WEBB, Globe senior reporter
(Email Renee)

One of the highlights of the Bishop’s Dinner for Catholic Schools is recognition of teachers and staff who serve in the ministry.

The Diocese of Sioux City is currently accepting award nominations for the Excellence in Education Award and the Good Shepherd Award given to recipients at the annual bishop’s dinner held each October.

“The dinner serves not only as the single largest fundraiser for all 16 Catholic schools systems in our diocese, but also as an opportunity to honor and recognize those individuals who are routinely going above and beyond the call of duty and have a real passion and dedication for their jobs,” said Dan Ryan, Ed.D., superintendent of schools. “We have had some exceptional honorees in the past years and we are looking forward to acknowledging more individuals this year.”

The Excellence in Education Award is specifically for teachers who not only incorporate new and exciting teaching techniques in their classrooms but have also earned the respect of peers, students and/or parents by fostering an atmosphere of collaboration and teamwork.

This award was established 15 years ago. In its inaugural year, the diocese recognized five teachers from throughout the diocese.

Carolyn Bickford, a seventh and eighth grade teacher at Gehlen Catholic School in Le Mars, was among the winners.

“It’s nice to know that the dedication of teachers in Catholic schools is recognized,” she said.
Bickford, who continues to teach at Gehlen, expressed appreciation for the award.

“There are many dedicated teachers in our Catholic schools who are happy to know that others appreciate the fact that they put their hearts and souls into their work,” she said.

Ryan said they were looking for those teachers who are exceptional role models both in and out of the classroom.

Recipients of the Good Shepherd Award are other employees within the school that are making a difference. Previous years’ recipients include school administrators, principals, administrative assistants and custodians.
This award was established in 2009.

Paula Schwebach, who was secretary at St. Patrick School in Sheldon at the time, was one of two winners that first year.

“I thought it was an honor that I was chosen from all of the applicants because I know there were a lot of them,” she said. “It was an honor.”

Schwebach retired in December of 2012 but continues to volunteer one day a week to help with the school’s SCRIP program.

“I like the way the diocese is recognizing people who are not teachers that also give to Catholic education,” she said.

Schwebach stressed she continues to volunteer at the school because she believes “it is important for Catholic education to stay in our town.”

“Nominees should be admired and respected by not only their peers but also the parents and students,” Ryan pointed out.

Nomination submissions must be received June 1, 2014. Nomination forms are available online at www.scdiocese.org/awards or by contacting any of the schools throughout the diocese.

Requirements for Bishop’s Dinner for Catholic Schools award nominees

The annual “Bishop’s Dinner for Catholic Schools” serves not only as the single largest fundraiser for the 16 Catholic school systems in the diocese but also as an opportunity to recognize outstanding educators and other school employees who are positively impacting Catholic education.

Two awards are given each year: “Excellence in Education” and “The Good Shepherd Award.”

Requirements for “Excellence in Education” nominees include:
– A teacher who emphasizes Catholic identity in the classroom regardless of subject matter. Faith remains the cornerstone of the classroom and ongoing faith formation is emphasized.
– A teacher who strives endlessly for academic excellence and achievement while incorporating new and innovative teaching strategies in the classroom.
– A teacher who has earned the respect of peers, students and/or parents by fostering an atmosphere of collaboration and teamwork. Serves as a role model to fellow teachers as well as students.
– A teacher who is a witness of his or her faith in his or her professional and personal life.
– A teacher who promotes the mission of the school both on and off the job. Contributes time, talent and treasure and exhibits a true passion for the school.
– A teacher in a Catholic school of the Diocese of Sioux City for at least 10 consecutive years at the time of nomination and remains employed at the time of the Bishop’s Dinner when award is given.

Requirements for “Good Shepherd Award” nominees include:
– A school employee, who is admired, respected and held in high regard by fellow peers, students and parents. Routinely goes above and beyond the call of duty enthusiastically promoting the mission of the school.
–A school employee who demonstrates a true passion for the job. Ready and willing to help at a moment’s notice.
– Any employee in a Catholic school of the Diocese of Sioux City for at least five consecutive years at the time of nomination and remains employed at the time of the Bishop’s Dinner when award is given.

Multiple awards are given in each category each year based on the discretion of the Awards Committee and Bishop Walker Nickless. The Awards Committee is comprised of the administrators from the schools that had award recipients the previous year as well as the Superintendent of Schools.

Award recipients are announced in August. Recipients are presented on stage at the Bishop’s Dinner for Catholic Schools in October and will each receive a $1,000 cash gift.


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