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Fourteen Elementary and High School Teachers in Seven Categories

Chicago, IL (February 2, 2007)-The Archdiocese of Chicago's Office of Catholic Schools has named 14 elementary and secondary school teachers as their 2007 Heart of the School award winners, in recognition of outstanding, unique and innovative accomplishments by individual teachers and non-administrative professional staff members, in seven categories.

"These award-winning teachers showcase the exceptional dedication, leadership and service that exists in our Catholic schools. These dedicated professionals are delivering on the Archdiocese's commitment to provide our students a Catholic spiritual formation, as well as an excellent academic curriculum, while keeping our schools vitally involved in their communities," said Dr. Nicholas M. Wolsonovich, Superintendent, Office of Catholic Schools, Archdiocese of Chicago.

The 2007 Heart of the School award-winning teachers were chosen from a potential pool of more than 5,300 educators from 257 schools in Cook and Lake counties, and were presented with a pin, commemorative plaque and a monetary award at a breakfast gathering on January 26 at the Omni Hotel in Chicago. (The monetary awards were provided by the following corporate sponsors: Benziger Macmillan/McGraw-Hill, Catapult Learning, CDW-G, Comcast Corporation, Lifetouch National School Studios, Private School Aid Service, QSP/World's Finest Chocolate, and School Specialties, Inc.)

By category, the 2007 Heart of the School award-winning teachers are:

The Arts, for making outstanding contributions to instilling a love of the arts among students:

  • Jamie Dixon of Gurnee is a seven-year teacher of music, band, and choir in grades PreK to 8 at Saint Joseph School in Round Lake.
  • Kristin McCreary of Chicago has taught Spanish to grades PreK to 8 at St. Josaphat School in Chicago.

Catholic School Identity and Mission, for displaying best practices in religious education while modeling a commitment to the promotion of peace and justice:

  • Dawn M. Gasior of Chicago has spent the last 23 years of her 28-year teaching career at St. Symphorosa School in Chicago.
  • Paulette Stith of Mundelein is Religious Education Department Chair at Carmel Catholic High School in Mundelein.

Innovation and Creativity, for exhibiting best educational practices by initiating and implementing new learning methods that contribute to curriculum development, student performance, and professional development:

  • Catherine Ann Goll of Arlington Heights is a reading teacher at St. Norbert School in Northbrook.
  • Kristine Nader of Chicago is in her sixth year of teaching fifth grade science at St. Paul of the Cross School in Park Ridge.

Leadership, for exhibiting exceptional dedication in the classroom, school, and community in one or more of the following areas: student activities, parent/school organizations, school administration, or state or national professional teacher organizations.

  • Lauren M. Costa of Chicago teaches first grade at St. Pascal School in Chicago.
  • Mary Vitulli of Highland Park is Assistant Principal and teaches math and social studies at St. James School in Highwood.

Rising Star, for teachers of less than five years that exhibit vigor, excellence and innovative strategies in and outside the classroom:

  • Sarah Buino of Chicago teaches English and world history at Archbishop Quigley Preparatory Seminary in Chicago.
  • Teal Spencer of Grayslake is a Spanish teacher at Carmel Catholic High School in Mundelein.

Technology, for making outstanding contributions to integrating technology in education:

  • Michael Hassett of Flossmoor is the Computer Technology teacher at Infant Jesus of Prague School in Flossmoor.
  • Linda Tayler of Wauconda currently teaches technology to grades K to 8 at Transfiguration School in Wauconda.

Behind the Scenes, for non-administrative staff persons who contribute to unique program successes:

  • Anthony Rosinia of Chicago is Senior Director of Information Systems at St. Ignatius College Prep in Chicago.
  • Patricia Weyna of Chicago is the Librarian at St. Juliana School in Chicago.

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