Ten Local Teachers to Be Honored for Excellence in Teaching

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Annual Golden Apple Award Salutes Commitment to Catholic Education, Includes $5,000 Prize

WASHINGTON – Ten teachers from Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Washington will be honored for their excellence in teaching and commitment to Catholic education at the sixth annual Golden Apple Awards dinner on Thursday, May 15, at the Renaissance Hotel in Northwest Washington.

The teachers were nominated by their colleagues, students and school parents for exemplifying the best in instructional strategies, Catholic identity and knowledge of curriculum. The award recipients receive a $5,000 prize along with a golden apple and certificate.

The awards were announced by surprising the teachers at their respective schools in April. Students, fellow teachers, administrators, parents and family members were on hand as representatives from the Catholic Schools Office of the Archdiocese of Washington came to the schools to personally inform them of their selection.

The Golden Apple Award was created by the Pittsburgh-based Donahue Family Foundation whose founders, Jack and Rhodora Donahue, sent their 13 children to Catholic schools. Eager to express their deep appreciation to Catholic school teachers, the award was created to honor teachers for providing a quality academic and faith-filled education.

The awards will be presented by Cardinal Donald Wuerl, archbishop of Washington.

The 2013-2014 Golden Apple Award winners are:

Jessica Bowles – Mother Catherine Spalding School, Mechanicsville, Md.
Bowles is the fourth and fifth grade math teacher at Mother Catherine Spalding School where she has taught since 2005. She is an active participant in food drives, nursing home supplies collections and toy drives to benefit local community. Principal Linda Miedzinski described Bowles as having “a remarkable ability to build the foundation of a faith filled education for children.”

Ann Marie Brennan-Zelenka – Georgetown Visitation Preparatory, Washington, D.C.
Brennan-Zelenka is the religion teacher at Georgetown Visitation Preparatory where she has taught since 1984. She attended the C.S. Lewis Institute, which provides discipleship programs, training and resources for Christians, in Oxford, England, during the summer of 2013. Christine McGovern, dean of faculty, said Brennan-Zelenka’s “life is a witness to gospel values.”

Margaret Clark – St. Ambrose School, Cheverly, Md.
Clark is the middle school mathematics teacher at St. Ambrose where she has taught since 2009. She is the creator and coordinator of Math Power Hour, which is an after-school math tutoring program, as well as the coordinator of the school’s Recycle Program. She is also the lead teacher for professional learning communities. Fr. Kevin Kennedy, St. Ambrose’s pastor, said Clark’s “vocation as a teacher is steeped in her discipleship in Jesus.”

Jeanne Donatelli – St. Jude Regional Catholic School, Rockville, Md.
Donatelli is the religion teacher for fifth through eighth grades as well as the physical education teacher at St. Jude Regional Catholic School where she has taught since 2000. She is the sacramental coordinator for school and has coordinated a number of service projects, including the “Cup of Joe” program to provide breakfast to area homeless, food drives for area food shelters four times per year and collecting baby supplies for St. Ann’s Center for Children, Youth and Families. Fr. Paul Lee, St. Jude’s pastor, said “there is a sense of flow and continuity in everything [Donatelli] does and is.”

Patricia Quinn – St. Raphael School, Rockville, Md.
Quinn is the fifth grade teacher at St. Raphael School where she has taught since 2010. She serves as coordinator of the school’s accreditation process as well as a Eucharistic minister. One of her students said “I think she can’t get any better. Ms. Quinn is awesome and I love her.”

Helene Redmond – St. Martin of Tours School, Gaithersburg, Md.
Redmond is the middle school religion and language arts teacher at St. Martin of Tours School where she has taught since 2004. She serves as a Lord’s Table Soup Kitchen volunteer; Eucharistic Minister, co-team leader for the DeMatha Quiz Bowl and a parent volunteer for Our Lady of Good Counsel band and drama programs. She is also the co-creator and co-chair of St. Martin’s First Literary Day as well as the creator and coordinator of St. Martin’s family math night. One of her students said Redmond “shapes the lives of young students, encourages them to find their potential within themselves and yet she embodies the values of Christ’s morals.”

Katherine Sague – Our Lady of Victory School, Washington, D.C.
Sague is the library class teacher at Our Lady of Victory School where she has taught since 1993. She serves as the Advent giving tree coordinator and a new teacher mentor. She received a graduate degree from the Catholic School Leadership Program at Marymount University. Fr. David Werning, Our Lady of Victory’s pastor, said Sague “deserves not only a Golden Apple; she should get a golden fruit basket. She is definitely the kind of educator and person the Golden Apple committee should honor as an example for others.”

Cecilia Sarlo – Father Andrew White School, Leonardtown, Md.
Sarlo is the middle school science teacher at Father Andrew White School where she has taught since 2002. She serves as the coordinator for school’s science fair and is a CCD teacher. She was the coordinator for the 8th Grade Cookie Walk for St. Aloysius Christmas Dinner and was a winner of a National Catholic Education Association science grant. Principal Linda Maloney said Sarlo’s “love for science is only overshadowed by the importance of her Catholic faith in her life. She doesn’t just talk about her faith, she lives it every day.”

Catherine Silverstone – St. Mary’s School, Bryantown, Md.
Silverstone is the second grade teacher at St. Mary’s School where she has taught since 2009. She serves as the school’s service learning camp co-leader and was honored as the 2014 Knights of Columbus Maryland State Teacher of the Year. Fellow teacher Jill Rison said that “when given a challenge, [Silverstone] is able to differentiate her curriculum for the success of her students.”

Michael Tenney – St. Vincent Pallotti High School, Laurel, Md.
Tenney is the religion teacher at St. Vincent Pallotti High School where he has taught since 2009. He serves as the liturgical music director at Encounter the Gospel of Life summer service camp and a Life Teen adult volunteer. He is a graduate of Washington Theological Union. Nancy Vawter, director of campus ministry, said that “in every venue from faculty days of reflection to school masses and our annual Coffee Houses, Mr. Tenney is singing praise and worship and offering reflections and prayers.”

The Archdiocese of Washington is home to over 620,000 Catholics, 139 parishes and 96 Catholic schools, located in Washington, D.C., and five Maryland counties: Calvert, Charles, Montgomery, Prince George’s and St. Mary’s.

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