Mandy Mills

Catholic school teachers from across the diocese, their principals and guests gathered virtually on Wednesday, May 13 for the third annual Excellence in Catholic Education awards presented by the Office of Catholic Schools. 

During his opening remarks, Bishop Barry C. Knestout expressed his gratitude to the nominees for their work. 

“It incorporates the faith, but it is much beyond that in terms of all the other aspects of human life and formation for our young people,” he said. “It makes me proud and it’s great to be a part of the work of the diocese that is carried out so beautifully by each of you.”

The Excellence in Catholic Education awards honor teachers who represent the best in Catholic teaching in each region and across the diocese. Administrators and colleagues at each school selected one teacher to be recognized based on their exceptional commitment to Catholic education through their leadership and service to their students, parents, colleagues, parishes and school communities. 

The Excellence in Catholic Education school award winners are: 

– Mary Davison, All Saints Catholic School

– Barbara Green, Catholic High School

– Mandy Mills, Blessed Sacrament Huguenot School

– Katie Milnor, Charlottesville Catholic School

– Theresa Sullivan, Christ the King Catholic School

Sarah Whalen, Holy Cross Regional Catholic School

– Marisa Trible, Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic School

– Dominican Sister Mary Josephine, Our Lady of  
  Mount Carmel Catholic School

– Michael Pilola, Peninsula Catholic High School

Peggy Campbell, Portsmouth Regional Catholic School

– Catherine Schlesser, Roanoke Catholic School

– Lorraine Schwarz, Sacred Heart Catholic School

– Angelina Bush, St. Anne Catholic School

– Michelle Cisik, St. Benedict Catholic School

– Shannon Barry, St. Bridget Catholic School

– Rachel Franklin, St. Edward Epiphany School

– Julie Mazzeo, St. Gregory the Great Catholic School

– Diane Astrin, St. John the Apostle Catholic School

– Linda Elkins, St. Joseph Catholic School

– Patricia Harris, St. Mary Catholic School

– Dominican Sister Mary Augustine Brilliant, St. Mary
  Star of the Sea

– Roxanne Catoire, St. Matthew Catholic School

– Carol Novisk, St. Pius X Catholic School

– Myriam Traub, Star of the Sea Catholic School

Milnor, first grade teacher at Charlottesville Catholic School, was the recipient of the Western Vicariate award. In his nomination, her principal, Michael Riley, wrote: “She is often found helping students resolve their differences in an age-appropriate manner, utilizing the teachings of Jesus to help them be more accepting, respectful, and compassionate.”

Davison, first grade teacher at All Saints Catholic School, Richmond, received the Central Vicariate award. Her principal, Michael Kelleher, wrote in his nomination of her: “The praise that parents shower upon this nominee is well deserved and it runs the gamut from her ability to implement effective classroom management techniques, to assessing student learning, to creating quality, engaging learning centers for the students. … It is easy to see that she loves her students and they love her.”

Pilola, the Eastern Vicariate honoree, teaches English at Peninsula Catholic High School, Newport News. In her nomination, Jenny Franklin, principal, wrote: “Michael never forgets where he is or what his purpose is here … to form these young people into great citizens who are strong in their faith.” 

She added that he is a “role model to his colleagues and they respect him not only for his skills but for the manner in which he supports them – always positive, always with a smile and always with a helping hand.”

Mills, a second grade teacher at the Blessed Sacrament Huguenot School, Powhatan, received the Elizabeth Ann Seton Award — given to a teacher “based on their selfless work in service of the Gospel in both word and deed, their dedication to Catholic education, their instructional expertise, and their witness to their faith to help transform the lives of our Catholic school students and communities,” according to the diocesan Office of Catholic Schools.

In her nomination of Mills, Paula Ledbetter, head of school, wrote: “Mandy is dedicated and committed to the well-rounded development of her students, working to enhance the academic and cocurricular programs at the school, coaching and teaching colleagues in new initiatives and participating in church and community events. She is a reliable and dedicated teacher who is respected and valued by her colleagues.”