Educators honored at Professional Day

Published: October 2, 2017

The Diocese of Little Rock superintendent of Catholic schools and four Catholic school teachers were honored during the 81st annual Professional Day for Teachers at Christ the King School in Little Rock on Sept. 29.

Superintendent Vernell Bowen was surprised with an award for her 25 years of service in Catholic education by associate superintendents Marguerite Olberts and Theresa Hall. She has served as superintendent for the past 16 years. Before that she was principal of St. Edward School in Little Rock for nine years.

Bowen came to Catholic schools after teaching in public education for 23 years. All together she is celebrating 48 years as an educator. Visit Arkansas Catholic to learn more.

The following teachers were also honored for their 25 years of service in Catholic schools in Arkansas: Mary Kleinsorge, Christ the King School, Little Rock: April Williamson, Blessed Sacrament School, Jonesboro; Tamara McMillan, St. Joseph School, Conway; and Cathy Walker, St. Vincent de Paul School, Rogers. The diocese presented each of them with an engraved clock and certificate.

Professional Day is a daylong, continuing education program that also includes Mass, adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, a keynote speaker, focus sessions, vendor booths and lunch. Catholic schools are closed on this day to allow Catholic educators to attend. Professional Day is sponsored by the diocesan Office of Catholic Schools. This year, Sister Carol Cimino, SSJ, was the featured speaker. She is superintendent of schools for the Diocese of Buffalo, New York. The nationally known author, speaker, college professor and consultant in Catholic education focused on: "Dancing to the Beat of Hope."

"You are a great gift to the Church and to all those families who entrust their children's education to you." — Bishop Anthony B. Taylor

"It was a joyful, humorous and thought provoking talk," said Olberts, reflecting on the presentation. "Sister Carol has a wonderful way of inspiring us with laughter and still making us think."

The overall theme of the day reflected on how Catholic educators "Follow in the Footsteps of Christ." Although unable to attend, Bishop Anthony B. Taylor thanked those attending in a letter included with the event program. "You are a great gift to the Church and to all those families who entrust their children's education to you.

"I am always in awe of the responsibility and dedication of our Catholic educators and I commend you on your faithfulness and commitment to form these children not only academically, but spiritually as well. Thank you for working together with fellow educators, pastors, parents and community leaders to ensure a quality education for all the children. You set a great example of what it means to truly follow in the footsteps of Christ."