Congratulations to this year’s Distinguished Lasallian Educators! The eight awards were presented on Saturday, November 21 at a banquet at the Holiday Inn Chicago Mart Plaza, held at the conclusion of the 2015 Huether Lasallian Conference.

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Each year, educators from the Districts are selected by their ministries and recognized for their exceptional work as leaders among faculty and students. These Distinguished Lasallian Educators receive the award for touching the hearts and minds of their students, often leaving a lasting impression that makes a difference in the world.

The 2015 Distinguished Lasallian Educators:

Beth A. Lemme Bixby
Chief Operating Officer
Tides Family Services, West Warwick, RI
District of Eastern North America

Beth A. Lemme Bixby is now in her 15th year at Tides Family Services in Rhode Island. Beginning as a clinician she has served in a number of positions, recently becoming the Chief Operating Officer for Tides. With a Bachelor’s degree in Human Development and Family Studies and a Master’s in Social Work, Beth has combined her studies, work experience, and Lasallian formation to ensure that this essential Lasallian agency continues to grow and fulfill its mission. Through her work, creativity, and advocacy, many young men and women are now living better lives and the entire community has benefited as a result.

Brother Raymond Meagher, FSC
Assistant Professor, School of Education and Health
Manhattan College, Riverdale, NY
District of Eastern North America

Brother Raymond Meagher, FSC is marking his 50th year in apostolic Lasallian ministry. Beginning in 1966, Br. Ray has served in elementary and secondary schools, youth and family services, and now in higher education at Manhattan College. His roles have included teacher, administrator, counselor, social worker, child care worker, and assistant professor. Ministering at Manhattan since 2002, he is an extraordinarily effective teacher, a beloved mentor, and a wonderful colleague. As a true role model of Lasallian values in action, he daily inspires a new generation of teachers in the ways of Lasallian pedagogy and community.

Elissa Pensa Cerros
Fine Arts Teacher
La Salle Academy, Providence, Providence, RI
District of Eastern North America

Elissa Pensa Cerros is now in her 16th year at La Salle Academy, Providence. She serves her community as a Theater, Film, and Production teacher; Theater Technical Director; Director of the outreach program Arts Alive!, and member of the school’s Lasallian Ministry Team. Additionally, Elissa has been active in the associative group RILAG; a driving force in Young Lasallians/VEGA at all levels; a leader of service immersion trips; and, a frequent Lasallian formation presenter. In the words of Brother Robert Schieler, FSC, Superior General of the Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools, “Elissa is one of those Lasallians who sees, understands and lives the Lasallian Mission beyond their local ministry.”

Patricia Norusis
Learning Lab Teacher and Department Chair
Cretin-Derham Hall, St. Paul, MN
Midwest District

Patricia Norusis has been teaching for 43 years. With a passion for English, her students have been blessed with greater writing skills and a love for literature. For decades, she has served as a mentor to younger teachers. In the past several years, Pat’s embodiment of Lasallian mission has been exemplified through her commitment to overseeing Cretin-Derham Hall’s Family’s Moving Forward every July. Family’s Moving Forward shelters families without a home. Pat knows that children without a stable living situation struggle academically. Through her, families have a hospitable, predictable and clean place to sleep, i.e., a shelter amidst struggles and despair.

Brother Michael Rivers, FSC,
Learning Lab Teacher
Cretin-Derham Hall, St. Paul, MN
Midwest District

Brother Michael Rivers, FSC, has been a Christian Brother for over 50 years. He has dedicated his life to God through educating every student entrusted to his care for 47 years. At one point, he created the Clown Club to bring joy to those who needed joy and hugs. He still distributes coupons for hugs!! Moreover, through his teaching experience, he found his passion amidst those who struggle with learning challenges. He embraces his vocation and the students with joy and hope. There is nothing more touching than to hear students call him, “Brother.” Why? Because, Brother Michael is their brother.

Dr. Dennis H. Cremin
Professor of History
Lewis University, Romeoville, IL
Midwest District

Dr. Dennis Cremin models the personalized interaction with students, mastery of subject matter, and use of innovative pedagogy that characterizes what we value most in Lasallian educators. Known for immersing students in settings that evoke powerful emotions and which add significant value to learning, he has led study abroad and pilgrimage trips to Rome, Italy, to Bethlehem University and the Holy Land, and to Civil Rights sites in Tennessee and Alabama. In these settings he has used storytelling to bring history and the human experience to life through the lenses of social justice and his faith.

Sulema Modesto
Dean of Studies and Genre Literature Teacher
Cathedral High School, Los Angeles, CA
District of San Francisco New Orleans

Sulema Modesto is in her 12th year at Cathedral High School, Los Angeles. She graduated from Mt. Saint Mary’s College in 1993 with a Bachelor’s in Biology and in 1998 attained her Master’s Degree in Counseling from Loyola Marymount University. In 2004 she began her ministry at Cathedral as the Dean of Studies and teacher. As a passionate advocate and educator she was instrumental in facilitating the school wide adoption of educational technology. As a bilingual Lasallian administrator, she is the point person in assisting students – many of whom are first generation college students – with attaining high educational standards to pursue their life-long dreams.

Judy McCarty
Lasallian Youth Moderator and Director of Service Learning
Mullen High School, Denver, CO
District of San Francisco New Orleans

Judy McCarty is an exceptional example of the characteristics represented by this award: integral part of the Lasallian educational community, personal devotion to the Lasallian mission, and most importantly, guiding hands and hearts in her relationship with students. Judy has been a member of the Mullen community for 19 years and in those years her accomplishments in building an educational community in the name of the Lasallian mission has been remarkable. It was under Judy’s guidance that the Five Core Principles were introduced to Mullen High School. The principles are the threads that bind Mullen High School and guide us in all we do. In fact, Judy designed the Five Core Principle Banners prominently displayed in our Lasallian Heritage Hallway. The Five Core Principles have become such an integral part of Mullen High School that our students can invoke them at any given moment.