2016 St. Albert the Great Award
Donna Maus of St. Mary’s Colgan High School in Pittsburg is the 2016 recipient of the St. Albert the Great Award as a distinguished teacher of science in Grades 7-12. In addition she will represent the Diocese of Wichita as Teacher of the Year for the Kansas Association of Independent and Religious Schools.
Mrs. Maus sets a powerful example of a science teacher in love with her faith. Her own marvel at the beauty of God’s creation as discovered through science is infectious. She connects the biology of procreation to God’s act of creating all things. She uses Natural Family Planning to show how chastity makes the act of creation holy and life-giving. This depth of faith is reflected in her Christian manner: she is just in her dealings with students, in the way she grades and critiques assignments, and in her gentle tone of voice.
She designs her classes around the Next Generation Science Standards. She served on the diocesan task force to infuse Catholic virtues into the standards and has been a presenter on this topic at diocesan teacher in-services. She has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities to attend seminars that integrate science, history, and literature. She not only gets students into the science lab, she gets them out the doors to observe, collect data, analyze it, and propose answers.
Each year she invites members of the SMC community to a fasting lunch in her classroom. Those who attend pay for a lunch of bread and water and join in communal prayer. The profits are given to the poor. Donna Maus is truly a distinguished Catholic school teacher in large part because she is an exemplary Catholic woman.
St. Albert the Great is most known as a teacher and defender of St. Thomas Aquinas, but he was also an acknowledged master of the sciences, mathematics, literature, and theology. He is the patron of science teachers.