Distinguished Lasallian Educators (DLE) were honored during the opening session of the 48th annual Huether Lasallian Conference on Thursday, November 18, 2021. The DLEs represent the Districts of Eastern North America, Francophone Canada, Midwest and San Francisco New Orleans. Recipients were selected by their ministries and recognized for their exceptional work in touching the hearts and minds of their students, often leaving a lasting impression that makes a difference in the world.
Also during the opening session, Roxanne Eubank, Ed.D., and Mary Catherine Fox, AFSC, Ph.D., longtime Lasallian professors and scholars from Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota, were honored with the Brother John Johnston, FSC Award for their significant contributions to the Lasallian mission on Saint Mary’s campus and beyond. Read about the Johnston Award >
Distinguished Lasallian Educators
District of Eastern North America
Principal Emeritus, Faculty Member
La Salle College High School
Michael O’Toole’s stellar educational career has included 40 years of service at La Salle College High School. As teacher, department chair, curriculum director, vice president and for the past nine years as principal, his guiding principles have been rooted in Lasallian pedagogy and spirituality. Some of his major accomplishments have included the establishment of a Lasallian Mission and Ministry office, numerous initiatives in academic and technology areas, and progressive work with multiple faith-based and social justice-oriented organizations. However, his most important contribution has been as a champion of diversity, equity and inclusion long before the contemporary movements in educational institutions began.
“I think anybody that does work like this, the work is the most important thing. Awards are nice. They’re rather the spice that accentuates the work. I think there’s lots of people who have helped me with this at my school, the community with whom I work, and of course my wife who had to see me go out the door many Saturday mornings a long time ago to help get started the community scholars program. I thank all of those people. This is an award that really honors lots of help that I’ve gotten from a lot of other people.”
Community Outreach Liaison
Tides Family Services
West Warwick, RI
Travis Wiggins has served at Tides Family Services for the past 22 years, primarily as a community outreach liaison and caseworker. His work, lived as his vocation, at Tides has been dedicated to promoting social justice and inclusion for the most disadvantaged and marginalized youth of Rhode Island. Much like the Founder’s work at St. Yon, Travis has made it his life’s work to accompany young men and women in the juvenile justice system from a path of despair and near hopelessness to one full of promise and potential. He has inspired countless youth and has made a profound difference in their lives.
“I’m a little shy about it. To me, after doing this for so many years, you’re appreciative, you love that you’re making an impact in some way. It’s amazing. It’s a feeling like, ‘Wow! You? Of all people? Why you?!’”
Dr. Mary Wilby
Associate Professor of Nursing, School of Nursing and Health Services
La Salle University
Dr. Mary Wilby’s distinguished clinical and academic career is only outshone by her passionate commitment to the heritage and mission of Lasallian education. She has served the La Salle University community and beyond, meeting people where they are with their health needs. She has volunteered her time and expertise to serve a Lasallian educational community in Haiti. She has supported the Lasallian Women of Hope project to address pressing personal health necessities of women. Recently she has been a leader in addressing the COVID-19 challenges of the university community. Her compassionate contributions simply have made an immeasurable difference.
“It really is a great honor for me. It seems strange because I’m being recognized for doing things I love to do, that I would do a million times over again if I could. So I’ve really enjoyed all of the things that I’ve been doing, and I just really appreciate this.”
Denis de Villers
District Communications Adviser and Formator
Francophone Canada District Office
Denis de Villers has been connected with the Brothers of the Christian Schools for almost his entire life. As a student, animator, teacher, father and school administrator, he has allowed himself to become absorbed in and deeply engaged by Lasallian values in education. Extending his commitment beyond his ministries, he served for 13 years on the Lasallian Educative Mission Standing Committee and today serves as the District’s communication adviser and formator, and as a member of both the Lasallian Education Council and Regional Communications Team. He continues to dedicate himself to sharing the Lasallian charism with those involved in the Lasallian network of French-speaking North America and beyond.
“It’s a recognition of many years of working with my heart and for the benefit of the kids.”
Brother André Dubuc, FSC
Centre Lasallien Saint-Michel
Brother André Dubuc, 86 years of age, continues to commit his life to the Lasallian mission in Québec. Regardless of how difficult a role has been, Brother André has answered the call to serve with faith and determination. He has always been an educator at heart and a deep humanist. Throughout his 60 years of religious life, he has served as a teacher, a director, a missionary, an Auxiliary Visitor and a volunteer teacher for young disengaged students. He has inspired a countless number of Lasallians, who, in turn, have made significant contributions to the Lasallian mission in the District of Francophone Canada and beyond.
Assistant Principal for Academic Affairs
Holy Family Catholic High School
Melissa Livermore began her career at Holy Family Catholic High School in 2001 and quickly embraced the Lasallian mission when Holy Family joined the Lasallian community in 2004. She completed the Lasallian Social Justice Institute and quickly applied those principles inside and outside her classroom, offering generous opportunities for students to receive additional help and creating service opportunities, which included initiating international service trips to Ethiopian twinned schools. In her current role as assistant principal for academic affairs, her leadership and zeal for relationship-building have been critical components in successfully offering online learning for the final 2019-2020 term and in-person learning for the entire 2020-2021 school year.
“I am very honored to receive this award. I feel that I have an excellent team behind me, so it’s not an award that I earned on my own. I’m grateful for those at my school, my administrative team with John Dols, Mike Brennan and Matt Thuli, and then we have the best teachers on the planet and a fabulous staff supporting us.”
Theology Teacher and Assistant Campus Minister
De La Salle Institute
Chris Wood has been embodying the Lasallian spirit since he was a student at Archbishop O’Hara High School in Kansas City, Missouri. Before joining the staff at De La Salle Institute, Chris spent time in formation as a Christian Brother and graduated from Lewis University. For the past 30 years, he has graciously guided his students to discover God’s goodness, and he models compassion in everything he does. Often cited as a favorite teacher, students are impacted by the way in which Chris allows the Spirit to work through him. A master teacher and a trusted colleague with an open door, colleagues regularly lean on Chris for his wisdom, humor and calm manner.
“Very humbled, first of all. It’s been my life’s pleasure, my life’s calling. I feel very privileged to answer the call of John Baptist de La Salle and continue his work and the work of the Brothers. Coming from a Christian Brothers school and a Christian Brothers product, they were men that guided and formed me and helped me become the man I am, and I feel like I’m giving back.”
District of San Francisco New Orleans
Saint Mary’s College High School
Cathy Molinelli has faithfully served Saint Mary’s College High School in Berkeley, California, for the past 16 years. Cathy embodies the Lasallian Core Principles in her current role as vice principal. They are at the forefront of everything she does. Cathy fosters a sense of belonging by cultivating a trusting and healthy environment for her colleagues and students alike. One colleague commented, “Cathy is the heart of our community, we are ever grateful for her Lasallian-inspired work ethic, her kindness and her compassion that model for us what the founder envisioned for the Brothers of the Christian Schools.”
“I’m incredibly honored to be recognized for the work I do at Saint Mary’s. I find great joy in creating and implementing programs that are inspired by our shared mission of creating relationships that change a child’s life. It’s a team effort and I work with amazing colleagues who are creative and inspiring. Our focus is always on the kids and how we can meet their needs.”