Catholic Diocese of Richmond

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Diocese of Richmond Honors Educators at the 2024 Excellence in Catholic Education Awards

April 29, 2024

RICHMOND, Va. – The Diocese of Richmond‘s Office of Catholic Schools honored educators from throughout the diocese at its annual Excellence in Catholic Education Awards Thursday, April 25, 2024. Earlier this spring, teachers representing each of the 23 diocesan schools were nominated for their dedication to Catholic education, their witness to the Catholic faith, their instructional expertise and selfless work in service to students, families, and the overall school community.

Teaching professionals gathered at St. Michael the Archangel Catholic Church, Glen Allen, to honor and celebrate their colleagues for their exceptional work in Catholic education. Before the awards reception, Bishop Barry C. Knestout celebrated Mass with Catholic educators.

“There is a great practicality to Catholic education and the work you do each day…you’re struggling with day-to-day trials: temperaments, personalities, gifts and abilities, and the whole range of human experiences,” said Bishop Knestout. “There’s something so beautiful and so good about Catholic education. People are drawn towards it, and it’s a beautiful mission with a great impact.”

One educator from each of the diocese’s 23 schools was selected for their demonstration of excellence in and outside the classroom. Each winner was carefully reviewed and chosen by a committee. Three teachers received a Diocesan Award for Excellence in Catholic Education and a fourth received the esteemed Elizabeth Ann Seton Award. The award’s namesake, Elizabeth Ann Seton, was the first United Sates-born canonized saint. She is the patron saint of Catholic schools and teachers.

Left to Right: Bishop Knestout, Emily Pauler, Dr. Mike Riley Dr. Laura Clift, Dr. Jennifer Bigelow

The Elizabeth Ann Seton Award*

Emily Pauler |Theology and Physical Education |Portsmouth Catholic Regional School

“It was definitely an unexpected surprise. It’s been a nice change from my previous teaching experience to come back to the Catholic schools, it’s a different setting and more of a family. It’s nice to be recognized for the countless hours that you forget that you have put into it,” said Emily Pauler, shortly after receiving her award.

*This award is granted to one teacher in the Diocese of Richmond each year for their exemplary behavior and selfless work in serving Christ, their dedication to Catholic education, instructional expertise, and demonstration of faith by spreading Christ to their students and school communities.

Diocesan Award Winners for Excellence in Catholic Education*

Kristin Baxley |Roanoke Catholic School “Catholic education means students who not only know the basic tenets of the faith, but who also genuinely embrace the love of Christ and neighbor and live it out, even under the scrutiny of their peers.”

Jenni Gray | Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic School “I truly desire that my students know that science and faith work together and help us develop a greater love for God.”

Kristin Patterson | Catholic High School “I encourage students to be the hands and feet of Jesus by helping others in times of need.”

*Diocesan Award winners represent their entire vicariate and are selected for their commitment to excellence in the classroom and demonstration of faith in their school communities.


 Recipients of the 2024 Excellence in Catholic Education Award:

Angela Rasmussen, All Saints Catholic School

Kristin Patterson, Catholic High School

Michael Bruscia, Charlottesville Catholic School

Amanda Owens, Christ the King Catholic School

Charlotte Jenkins, Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic School

Jenni Gray, Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic School

Peggy Rogala, Peninsula Catholic High School

Emily Pauler, Portsmouth Catholic School

Kristin Baxley, Roanoke Catholic School

Kitzya Ramirez Leon, Sacred Heart Catholic School

Anne Johnson, St. Anne Catholic School

Erin Herrity, Saint Benedict Catholic School

Teresa Ross McBarron, Saint Bridget Catholic School

Magdalena F. Cox, St. Edward-Epiphany Catholic School

Lorri Lin Griffin, Saint Gregory the Great Catholic School

Eileen M. Mayette, St. John the Apostle Catholic School

Renee Fraine, St. Joseph Catholic School

Denise O. Reardon, Saint Mary’s Catholic School

Sr. Mary Aquinas Halbmaier, O.P., Saint Mary Star of the Sea Catholic School

Michelle Powell, St. Matthew’s Catholic School

Emily Danovich, St. Pius X Catholic School

Annette J. Martinez, Star of the Sea Catholic School

Meg Anderson, The Blessed Sacrament Huguenot School


For more information on the Catholic Diocese of Richmond’s Office of Catholic Schools, visit the Catholic Schools website.