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Congratulations to the 2010 Distinguished Lasallian Educators

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Seven educators were honored November 20 at the Distinguished Lasallian Educator Awards Banquet at La Salle High School in Cincinnati, OH.

More on the 2010 Huether Lasallian Conference >

Diana Aguilar
San Miguel School, Washington, DC
District of Eastern North America

DianaDiana Aguilar relies on her artistic skills to apply creative methods and approaches to math and religion lessons to engage the diverse learning styles of her students. Diana has the ability to establish relationships with her students fostering trust, respect, and kindness. Diana’s love for San Miguel School and its students go back to her personal experience. She grew up in El Salvador during that country’s civil war. When she arrived in the U.S. at the age of nine, she faced the struggles her students deal with of learning a new language and adjusting to a new culture.

“I’m overwhelmed and it’s a pleasure to be nominated and to hear that I won, it’s just beyond,” Diana said. “I just feel like I am doing my job and there are great educators here also that were nominated, so I feel just overwhelmed.”

Brother Jack Henderson, FSC
La Salle High School, Yakima, WA
San Francisco District

brother brianBrother Jack Henderson has devoted his considerable energies to making science, particularly biology, come alive for his students in his 24 years as a teacher. His classrooms teem with living creatures, from squirming pythons and boa constrictors to hairy tarantulas and hissing cockroaches, illustrating his philosophy that science is a study of life, not of preserved specimens. Aside from the academics, Bro. Jack is also watchful of students with personal problems being always ready to support, counsel, and comfort young people, even after they have graduated.

“It’s a tremendous honor. I’m a little bit humbled because I know that there are a whole lot of teachers out there that are a whole lot better than I am,” said Brother Jack. “It honors the education for us up in Yakima. It’s a recognition of the science programs we’ve developed and it’s not just me, it’s all the science teachers and the students.”

Judith McMasters
Bishop Kelley High School, Tulsa, OK
Midwest District

judithJudith McMasters demands excellence from the students and faculty not by proxy but by example. Her commitment to her faith, the Lasallian Mission, and Bishop Kelley High School is continually evident in her presence, words, and actions. Judith attended the Lasallian Leadership Institute and she has been an integral part of helping keep the Lasallian spirit alive as an administrator at Bishop Kelley. Parents, faculty, and students recognize Judith as an outstanding educator for her care and concern for their best interests.

“I’m very humbled by it,” said Judith. “I happened into a Lasallian school. I feel like God chose me to be there. I didn’t know what I was getting into, but it’s been a real blessing in my life.”

Michael McNamara
La Salle Academy, Providence, RI
District of Eastern North America

michaelMichael McNamara is an extraordinary teacher not only in the mastery of his subject matter but also in the connection that he makes with his students on a daily basis and his willingness to go the extra mile. When Michael’s wife, Carolee, who also taught at La Salle Academy, was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS) in the early 2000s, he cared for her and brought her to school to tutor students. His devotion to her and his strong and unwavering faith in God had a strong impact on the La Salle Academy community.

“It means a lot. I think what it does is it gives me an opportunity to recognize my journey as a Lasallian. To become more deeply aware of the fact that I’ve been invited by the Brothers to an endeavor that’s so much bigger than myself,” said Michael.

Dan Rhoton
St. Gabriel’s Hall, Audubon, PA
District of Eastern North America

danDaniel Rhoton did his student teaching at Saint Gabriel’s Hall and left only for one year as Program Director for Philadelphia Youth Network. He returned to the Hall in 2007 and assumed the math department chairmanship. Since then he has been finding ways to integrate science, technology, engineering, and math in the curriculum. In 2008, Dan was asked to become Vice Principal. His particular goal was to integrate career technical education within the existing STEM approach to learning-and that was accomplished.

“It’s a huge honor. There are so many great folks,” said Dan. “I’m just very grateful and humbled.”

Kurt Schackmuth
Lewis University, Romeoville, IL
Midwest District

kurtA Lewis University double alumnus, Kurt Schackmuth has wholeheartedly embraced the Lasallian Mission of Lewis, even as an undergraduate student. He has served for more than a decade in various impactful positions that have significantly helped to define and promote the Mission of Lewis. Kurt facilitates the Mission and Heritage Council at Lewis, a group that advises the President and Provost on matters related to Mission. He is a former member of the Midwest District’s Mission and Ministry Council, has served as Lasallian Animator since 2005, and completed the Buttimer Institute.

“I’m very honored to be recognized in this way,” said Kurt. “Although I believe that there are a number of others who’ve been in this ministry a lot longer than I have who are probably also very deserving of the award, I’m very appreciative and humbled really by this experience.”

Patricia Vega
Cathedral High School, El Paso, TX
New Orleans-Santa Fe District

patPatricia Vega joined Cathedral High School 25 years ago as a chemistry instructor and has taught in all areas of the science department, including general biology, physics, physical science, and honors class levels. She is also the Science Department Chairperson. In 2001, she was asked to take on the administrative position of Dean of Students/Dean of Discipline. In 2007, Patricia moved back into the classroom part time and assumed the role of Assistant Principal/Master Teacher. She has attended the Lasallian Leadership Institute, the Buttimer Institute, and the Animator’s workshop.

“Very humbling because I never ever expected it,” said Patricia. “Once my principal gave me the e-mail that they selected me I was floored. Literally floored because I never expected it. I really didn’t.”

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