NEENAH, Wis. (June 7, 2023) – St. Mary Catholic Schools (SMCS) celebrated faculty and staff at the annual year end celebration on the last day of school, Wednesday, June 7. Teachers and staff from all five schools came together for a meal and award ceremony recognizing retirements, career milestones and four annual SMCS awards: St. John Baptist de la Salle Outstanding Teacher Award, St. Frances Xavier Cabrini Award for Positive Influence, St. Anne Award for SMCS Spirit and St. Isidore of Seville Award for Innovation.
In order to be considered for one of these awards, teachers or staff members had to be nominated by fellow SMCS employees, parents or students. Once all nominations were in, an administrative team prayerfully considered each and every candidate to determine who best demonstrated the values and merit of each award.
The St. John Baptist de la Salle Outstanding Teacher Award was awarded to Daana Stuber, a fifth grade teacher at St. Margaret Mary Elementary. This award recognizes excellence in teaching, with a focus on creativity, rapport with students, positive attitude and high quality instruction. It is awarded to a current SMCS teacher who continually inspires and academically challenges students to be the best they can be.
“She has taken the time to create a classroom community where all students can thrive and where everyone can contribute something positive,” the nominations said, in part. “She is a favorite teacher of students throughout the school because of the intentional relationships she builds. She is always smiling and greeting students in the halls. She brings a positive light to the students and collaborates well with parents and her colleagues. She has a passion and zest for learning which is reflected in her commendable student achievement.”
The St. Frances Xavier Cabrini Award for Positive Influence was bestowed on Jennifer Giombetti, the associate principal at St. Gabriel Elementary. This award is given to a current SMCS staff member who makes an exceptional difference in the lives of students and their families. The recipient continually goes above and beyond to make sure that students feel school is a haven for learning and growing. They promote personal growth, spirituality and life long learning as the path to future success for all students.
“She greets students enthusiastically with a smile, high five or hug each morning,” the nominations mentioned. “You can feel her positive influence in our school the moment you enter the doors. She is passionate and caring with all the students. She is always thinking of ways to help our teachers and make sure they have the best teaching environment available and love coming to work. From staff to parents to students, everyone she interacts with leaves feeling valued, appreciated and somehow lighter. She is such an inspirational person. Her faith and positive outlook are contagious to everyone around her.”
The St. Anne Award for SMCS Spirit was awarded to Andy Dahlberg, the Dean of Students at St. Mary Catholic Middle School. This award is presented to a current SMCS staff member who consistently represents all SMCS schools in a positive and enthusiastic manner. The recipient of this award displays an upbeat attitude, promotes and participates in activities and events and encourages school spirit in others. They enthusiastically encourage students, parents, families, parishioners and the community to learn more about our schools and take personal pride in and responsibility for the success of SMCS through their positive work.
“Andy has an upbeat attitude and brings smiles and laughter to not only the students, but parents dropping off their children as well,” the nominations said. “He earned the children’s respect, deals with tough issues and proves to be a strong leader within the school. He puts faith front and center of everything he does. He has come up with different activities and programs to increase the sense of community, family and faith in our school. He brought a renewed focus on what it means to be a disciple of Jesus. He keeps a presence around the school by walking the halls and popping into classrooms to greet students.”
The St. Isidore of Seville Award for Innovation was given to Patti Donaldson, a learning support specialist at St. Mary Catholic Middle School. This award is presented to a current SMCS staff member who shows distinction in innovation. It recognizes an engaged employee who fully uses resources provided by SMCS, seeks mentors within our community and freely shares his/her time, talent and ideas with other employees and students to support the SMCS values and strategic goals. This employee demonstrates resourcefulness while inspiring creativity and critical thinking in others.
“Patti has shown commitment and ongoing initiative to students and their learning needs,” the nominations shared. “She models professionalism, goes above and beyond and continues to stay positive with fellow coworkers, parents and teachers. She has worked tirelessly to introduce our school to Universal Design for Learning and assists with training teachers on it. She is innovative and helps to build student success for all learners.”
More details about these annual awards and a list of past SMCS award recipients may be viewed at www.smcatholicschools.org/awards.