St. Philippine Duchesne Award
Outstanding Young Grade School Teacher
Melissa Gillenwater, fifth grade teacher at Christ the King Catholic School in Wichita is a 2016 recipient of the St. Philippine Duchesne Award for an outstanding young elementary school teacher.
She teaches the faith in every class she teaches. She uses novels and stories in English language arts to emphasize church morality and math word problems to examine Catholic social teaching. The role of faith throughout history is crucial to her social studies classes, and the interaction of faith and science shows God working throughout creation. Prayer is a staple throughout the day. She connects student behavior to the use of God’s gifts. She stresses the importance of respect.
Although she is a young teacher, Mrs. Gillenwater actively pursues staff development. She has served on the Diocesan Social Studies Committee. She has completed STEM training. She has twice been a presenter at the Diocesan Teacher Convention. As she implements the Kansas College and Career-Readiness Standards she triangulates data, mentors colleagues in differentiating instruction, and evaluates student performance through multiple assessments.
Currently the elementary team leader at Christ the King, Mrs. Gillenwater shows great promise as a teacher-leader in Catholic education.