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School employees celebrate the ‘faith, knowledge and service’ of Catholic education

Marist Father Ralph Olek, middle school English teacher at Marist School in Atlanta, accepts award as outstanding employee of the year.
Marist Father Ralph Olek, middle school English teacher at Marist School in Atlanta, accepts award as outstanding employee of the year from Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory.

Originally published Feb. 5, 2016 (Reprinted here with permission from The Georgia Bulletin, Archdiocese of Atlanta.

ATLANTA– This week Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Atlanta are commemorating Catholic Schools Week, a national observance that focuses on the faith-building, academic and community contributions of the schools.

The week, which runs from Jan. 31 to Feb. 6, has the theme, "Catholic Schools: Communities of Faith, Knowledge and Service."

The schools in the area have planned a number of activities for students and faculty, based on "daily themes and celebrations" provided by the National Catholic Educational Association, according to Diane Starkovich, Ph.D., superintendent of Catholic schools. These include a focus on parishes, communities, students, vocations, families and more, along with traditional celebrations, such as the Archdiocesan Spelling Bee and the eighth-grade Mass, celebrated this year at St. Peter Chanel Church, Roswell. Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory will preside at that Mass, along with priests of the archdiocese.

The Atlanta Archdiocese started the week with the annual Archbishop's Banquet for Catholic Education, held Jan. 30 at the Hilton Hotel and Conference Center in Marietta. The banquet gathers faculty and staff – including directors, teachers, custodians, principals, administrative assistants, coaches and others – from the 18 archdiocesan and seven independent Catholic schools in the Atlanta area.

One employee from each school is recognized as an outstanding employee of the year, as well as a principal of the year and preschool director of the year, chosen by their peers.

Honorees for 2016

Blessed Trinity High School, Roswell, Mary McCullough, facilitating peer tutoring for students;

Christ the King School, Atlanta, Phyllis Warner, library and media assistant;

Holy Redeemer School, Johns Creek, Stacy McWatt, resource teacher;

Holy Spirit Preparatory School, Atlanta, Hector Gamarra, Upper School facilities’ manager;

Immaculate Heart of Mary School, Atlanta, Anna Jimenez, curriculum director;

Marist School, Atlanta, Marist Father Ralph Olek, middle school English teacher;

Monsignor Donovan High School, Athens, Vickie Yaughn, head receptionist and front office administrative assistant;

Notre Dame Academy, Duluth, Cheryl Beshke, English teacher and International Baccalaureate program coordinator;

Our Lady of Mercy High School, Fayetteville, Brian Hutcheson, English and writing teacher and technical director for the fine arts department;

Our Lady of the Assumption School, Atlanta, Willie Jefferson, custodian;

Our Lady of Victory School, Tyrone, Josephine Hawkins, teacher assistant and director of the after school care program;

Pinecrest Academy, Cumming, Erin McGraw, theatrical arts teacher;

Queen of Angels School, Roswell, Ken Kenan, maintenance supervisor;

St. Catherine of Siena School, Kennesaw, Lisa Ferary, school nurse;

St. John Neumann Regional School, Lilburn, Karen Hoban, third-grade teacher;

St. John the Evangelist School, Hapeville, Devanaha T. Baudy, technology specialist;

St. Joseph School–Athens, Leah Marchand, second-grade teacher;

St. Joseph School–Marietta, David "Rusty" Edwards, physical education teacher;

St. Jude the Apostle School, Atlanta, Barbara Black, resource teacher;

St. Mary's School, Rome, Kimberly Lewis, fourth-grade teacher;

St. Peter Claver Regional School, Decatur, Sarah C. Welch, first- and second-grade teacher;

St. Pius X High School, Atlanta, Gayle Ohrenberger, campus ministry director;

St. Thomas More School, Decatur, Patty Finley, school nurse;

Sophia Academy, Atlanta, John Turner, athletic director/director of facilities and physical education and health teacher.

Parish Preschool Director of the Year: Mary Jo Nichols, Holy Family Preschool, Marietta.

Principal of the Year: Lisa Cordell, Our Lady of the Assumption School, Atlanta

About Marist School
Marist School in Atlanta, which was founded in 1901, is an independent, Catholic, college-preparatory day school enrolling approximately 1,042 boys and girls in grades seven through 12. It is owned and operated by the Society of Mary (Marists).