TWO Taree educators were honoured at the recent "Called to Serve" Mass which was hosted by the Catholic Schools Office at Sacred Heart Cathedral, Hamilton.
Led by Bishop Bill Wright, the celebration acknowledged 25 years of service to Catholic education and recognised various individual's achievements in education, by presenting them with a Monsignor Frank Coolahan Award.
Local winners of this year's Monsignor Frank Coolahan awards were Gail Young and Tony Kelly.
The recipient of the Monsignor Frank Coolahan Award for leadership was Tony Kelly, currently seconded as principal to St Clare's High School, Taree.
His nomination for the award came from the community of San Clemente, Mayfield where Tony has been principal for 11 years. Tony has been described as an outstanding principal devoted to Catholic education and the building of a Catholic community around his school.
His decisions are based on his vision of what it means to be a Christian in a Catholic school - decisions based on the teachings of Christ and focused on the welfare of all students in his care.
Staff have witnessed Tony say on numerous occasions "What would Jesus have us do in this situation"?
Tony's outstanding feature is his drive and belief in a collaborative approach to building school culture in order to provide a positive learning environment and a positive teaching environment. He challenges his teachers to set high benchmarks for student achievement and to accept responsibility collectively for student challenges.
As one staff member stated "When Tony Kelly became principal of San Clemente High School he embraced a challenged, impoverished school with open arms and over the past six years has delivered through his leadership more than a school - a proudly Catholic, caring and confident community for staff, students and parents, with a future built on opportunity."
The Monsignor Coolahan Award for Excellence in Teaching goes to Gail Young, of St Joseph's Taree.
Gail has been described by her peers as the teacher every school wants, every parent needs, every principal dreams of and every kid deserves.
She invests energy, time and commitment into developing relationships where students feel valued, supported and indeed, unique.
Principal, Sidonie Coffey said that when she was first appointed as principal to St Joseph's an elderly grandmother spoke to her and said "Sidonie, every child at this school should have the opportun ity to be taught by Gail Young."