Catholic School Office announces teacher awards

Cody Kiister, a teacher at St. Andrew Catholic School in Independence, was one of the three recipients of the St. Rose Philippine Duchesne Outstanding New Teacher Award presented on Friday, Feb. 3. With him are Catholic schools Superintendent Janet Eaton, and St. Andrew’s Principal Angela Renfro. (Photo courtesy Andy Taylor/Montgomery County Chronicle)

Several diocesan Catholic school teachers were honored with annual awards during Catholic Schools Week Jan. 29-Feb. 4.

St. Kateri Tekakwitha Teacher Award

Julie Stuckey, a resource teacher from St. Peter Catholic School in Schulte, received the St. Kateri Tekakwitha Teacher Award. “The students at the school know that Mrs. Stuckey will go out of her way to help them,” according to a news release from the Catholic Schools Office. Stuckey has been teaching at St. Peter for eight years.

St. Philippine Duchesne Outstanding New Teacher Award

Three teachers received the St. Philippine Duchesne Outstanding New Teacher Award.

• Cody Kiister from St. Andrew Catholic School in Independence. He is in his second year of teaching. “His students see him as a person who lives his faith day in and day out.”
• Elizabeth Cyphert of St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic School in Wichita, is in her fifth year of teaching. “Her classroom reflects a place where students come to know Jesus in a very personal way.”
• Natalie Clouse from Kapaun Mt. Carmel Catholic High School in Wichita, is also a fifth-year teacher. “Her students learn an appreciation for literature steeped in Christian beauty and truth.”

A teacher must have taught in the diocese for less than five years to qualify for the award.

St. John Bosco Award

Clayton Applegate, a volunteer athletic director for seven years at Holy Spirit Catholic School in Goddard, is the recipient of the St. John Bosco Award. “He is cognizant of the needs of others. He deliberately works in a way that lessens the workload for others. Humility and generosity lead him in all of his decisions.”

Good Shepherd Distinguished Early Childhood Award

Nelly Espinosa from St. Margaret Mary Catholic School in Wichita and Robyn Neil from St. Mary’s Elementary in Pittsburg received the the Good Shepherd Distinguished Early Childhood Award. Both have committed their ministry to Catholic schools: Espinosa has been with at St. Margaret Mary for 16 years and Neil has been at St. Mary’s for nine years. “As the first teacher that many students ever experience, these two recipients have helped numerous students throughout the years. Their patience, kindness and compassion are easily witnessed.”

St. Matthew Math Teacher Award

Scott Landwehr, a teacher in the middle school at Resurrection Catholic School in Wichita, received the St. Matthew Math Teacher Award. He has dedicated his entire career to working in the diocese, spending the last seven years at Resurrection. He spent his first nine years as a teacher at St. Thomas, and the next eight years as an administrator at St. Cecilia and St. Thomas schools, before returning to the classroom at All Saints and eventually to Resurrection. “He is a truly believer in Catholic education. He strives daily to meet the needs of students regardless of their academic ability.”

St. Katharine Drexel Award

Kathy Carey, a middle school teacher at Christ the King Catholic School in Wichita, received the St. Katharine Drexel Award. “Carey’s conviction and love for Catholic education and missionary discipleship has made a remarkable impact for the students at Christ the King Catholic School. As one student stated, ‘Mrs. Carey cares about all of my life, not just English class.’”

St. Joseph the Worker Award

Elizabeth Meether of Bishop Carroll Catholic High School in Wichita and Donna Ohl of Holy Cross Catholic School in Hutchinson, received the St. Joseph the Worker Award. The Catholic School Office has more nominations annually for this award than any other award. Meether is the PowerSchool coordinator at Bishop Carroll and Ohl has been the school secretary at Holy Cross since 1999. “This is a testament to the vital support that staff members play in the running of a school.”