Archdiocese Honors Catholic Elementary School Teachers of the Year

June 02, 2008

Jennifer Eller of Holy Redeemer School in College Park, Maryland, has been named Catholic Elementary School Teacher of the Year by the Archdiocese of Washington. She was selected from more than 1,600 Catholic school teachers, and received the honor at a ceremony held May 14 at the Archdiocese’s headquarters in Hyattsville, Maryland. Also recognized were Regional Teachers of the Year for Washington DC, Montgomery County and Southern Maryland.

Eller engages her students and creates a comfortable, vibrant learning environment in her eighth grade language arts and social studies classes. Wielding her wireless mouse for PowerPoint notes, United Streaming videos, Global Chalkboard lessons and more, she combines technology and excitement so that students can’t help but learn. Making history and literature come alive, her students participate in many projects, such as a radio “Fireside Chat” and trips to Gettysburg and the Holocaust Museum. Eller has taught at Holy Redeemer since 1997 and is a role model for her students in her actions, words and deeds.

The regional teachers of the year are:

District of Columbia: Colleen Ryan, second grade teacher at Blessed Sacrament School at Chevy Chase Circle, draws on 15 years of Catholic school experience. This year, Ryan focused on service and serving others as a way of explaining and living the Catholic faith. Her students prepared bag lunches for the homeless, wrote letters to soldiers in Iraq, worked to keep their school environment clean through recycling and initiated a toy drive at Christmas. Ryan also has taught her students that prayer is a means to serve others, which was especially important to the children who had to cope with the death of a classmate this year.

Montgomery County: Steven Bartl teaches math to fifth through eighth grade students at St. Bartholomew School in Bethesda. He is a great motivator for his students and encourages all of them to use their talents to learn and achieve. Bartl hosts extra classes in the morning and after school both for students who need extra help and those gifted in mathematics. He makes math real through games and hands-on projects, and Bartl uses peer learning which allows him to find out what his students are understanding and where they still need help as they try to explain new math concepts to one another. He has been teaching in the archdiocese for 25 years.

Southern Maryland: Heather Francisco teaches second grade at Father Andrew White, S.J. School in Leonardtown. A teacher for 11 years, she creates an engaging learning environment that is hands-on and interactive every day where students create hallway displays, design Dr. Seuss t-shirts and more. Francisco also is sensitive to individual personalities and helps each of her students to discover his or her gifts and talents. She communicates regularly with parents, such as “Donuts for Dads” and “Muffins for Moms” to explain a new reading program to her parents and give them a demonstration. Francisco also sang in the papal Mass choir for Pope Benedict XVI’s Mass at Nationals Park.

Each elementary school principal selects a Teacher of the Year who best exemplifies formation of Catholic Christian character in students, excellence in teaching, Christian values, commitment to Catholic education, evidence of increasing professional standards, effectiveness in working with students and parents, and going the extra mile as a faculty member. A selection committee of the Elementary School Principals Association then chooses regional and archdiocesan-wide winners from this group. Winners receive certificates and cash awards.

Kathy Dempsey
Office of Communications
[email protected]