The National Catholic Education Association (NCEA) announced the winners of its annual Lead. Learn. Proclaim. Award (LLP) in various categories on April 14, and two of the winners represent Catholic schools of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia: the Bishop Shanahan High School Board of Directors and Bernadette Dougherty, assistant superintendent of schools for the archdiocese.
The awards are normally presented at the annual NCEA Convention that had been scheduled for April 14-16 in Baltimore but it was cancelled because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Commenting on all of the awardees, NCEA Interim President/CEO Kathy Mears said, “Just as the Catholic Church is the people and not the buildings so are Catholic schools not just buildings, but communities of educators and students bound by faith. The LLP Award is to recognize those individuals and organizations whose dedication, faith, knowledge and skills fulfill the mission of Catholic education.”
In her 37 years of education, Dougherty “has dedicated herself to the commitment of developing a teaching and leadership style that strives to educate the whole student, both academically and spiritually,” read the award citation.
Dougherty’s primary responsibility in the archdiocesan Office for Catholic Education is the supervision of elementary schools. She also runs the Elementary Administrator Development Program, which trains school principals and those aspiring to be a principal.
In addition to her involvement with the Strategic Planning Assistance Team, she is also an adjunct professor at Immaculata University and is chair of the advisory board for Villa Maria Academy Lower School, Malvern.
“It’s such an honor to receive this award,” said Dougherty, who after three decades as a classroom teacher and principal now spends most of her time visiting schools and sharing the knowledge gained through her decades of hands-on experience with others.
“I’m only in the office one or two times a week; I put a lot of mileage on my automobile,” she said.
Her own career in elementary schools was mostly teaching mathematics and science at Catholic schools in Chester County and as principal of St. Kevin School, Springfield and St. Elizabeth School, Upper Uwchlan.
Now with her focus on administrative development her interaction is mostly with principals and teachers. “I do not have that same interaction with the children that I do love,” she said.
Catholic education has changed over the years, and in good ways, with more emphasis on the needs of the individual child. There is also the new challenge that has risen from the time when virtually every child was from a family that went to church every Sunday.
“We have to educate the child, starting off with Catholic identity,” she said. “We have to weave that into every classroom.’
The citation for the Bishop Shanahan Board read in part, “Since 1958, Bishop Shanahan High School Board of Directors has worked tirelessly to ensure that the students of Bishop Shanahan receive a quality Catholic education that expose them to a well-designed academic program of rigorous courses that promote critical thinking, collaboration and innovation, while providing multiple opportunities for the students to encounter Christ each day.
“The Bishop Shanahan High School Board of Directors come from a variety of backgrounds, gifted with expertise in finance, business, marketing, public relations, law, facilities and other skills. The common bond that all the board members share, however, is a deep and lasting commitment to the mission and core values of Bishop Shanahan High School, which can be summarized by the guiding principle: People of God, People for Others.”
The 18-member board is almost entirely composed of professionals in various occupations who are either graduates or parents of graduates. It includes John P. Morrissey, the current chairman, who is an attorney and parent of four graduates; and Leo D. Parsons, Shanahan class of 1978, the immediate past chairman, who is president and CEO of Communications Test Design Inc.
“The Bishop Shanahan community is truly honored by this well-deserved recognition of the dedicated mission-driven members of the Board of Directors of Bishop Shanahan High School,” said Immaculate Heart Sister Regina Plunkett. “I have had the privilege of working with the board for many years and I am always edified by their generous and joyful sharing of their talents, their great camaraderie, their creativity and their love and support for Catholic education. I thank God for them and the service they offer to the entire Shanahan community. “They truly live the spirit of the Lead. Learn. Proclaim. Award and we are grateful!”
The full list of 27 winners nationally of this year’s LLP Award can be found at ncea.org.
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