Over the past 14 years, the Catholic Foundation has recognized outstanding educators in the archdiocese as an extension of its focus on education.
Each year, the foundation has awarded the Archbishop Paul S. Coakley Catholic School Educator of the Year award and the Archbishop Paul S. Coakley Religious Educator of the Year award to very deserving individuals. The Foundation presented the winners and finalists of both the awards at the teacher in-service meeting on Sept. 22.
Religious Educator of the Year
The winner of the 2017 Archbishop Paul S. Coakley Religious Educator of the Year award is Justin Karpilo, the confirmation and 10th grade catechist at Holy Spirit Catholic Church in Mustang.
Karpilo has served Holy Spirit for the past five years. He graduated from Benedictine College with a bachelor’s degree in music and previously served the parish as its music director. He earned a master’s degree in information systems, and is working diligently to digitize files and make Holy Spirit’s web presence more accessible. Karpilo’s nomination said he was always the first to help and loves sharing his faith.
Two other finalists recognized were Susan Milam, volunteer director of religious education and high school catechist at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church in Sterling; and Sandy Smith, the catechist certification coordinator and 7th/8th grade catechist at Saint John Nepomuk Catholic Church in Yukon.
Educator of the Year
The 2017 Archbishop Paul S. Coakley Catholic School Educator of the Year award winner is David Roberts, English teacher and dean of curriculum and instruction at Mount Saint Mary Catholic High School.
Roberts has taught in the English department at Mount Saint Mary for the past 13 years and is in his first year as dean of curriculum and instruction. Roberts, who came to The Mount from Texas, is revered by his students. He helped develop the Mercy Student of the Month award that recognizes the Spirit of Mercy among the students, and helped develop the ROCKET Experience course, a class that all freshmen take to learn MSM history, the partnership between the Sisters of Mercy and the archdiocese, etiquette skills, organizational skills and study skills.
The other finalists were Sharon Lieurance, second grade teacher at Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic School, and Katie Tooley, fifth grade teacher at Rosary Catholic School.
In presenting the awards, the Catholic Foundation Educator of the Year Committee chairman, Sharon Robinson said, “The foundation and all Catholics throughout the archdiocese extend the deepest respect and gratitude to both of our winners, each finalist, to all those nominated this year, and to all of the teachers and catechists within the archdiocese for your faithful work with students, fulfilling the mission of the Church to Go Make Disciples.”
Robinson presented the award winners and finalists a plaque and a $500 personal award each.
She also presented a $5,000 grant to Holy Spirit Catholic Church in honor of Karpilo and a $5,000 grant to Mount Saint Mary Catholic High School in honor of Roberts. The foundation also provides funds for a reception to be held at the school and parish in honor of the award winners.
Education has long been the emphasis of the Catholic Foundation of Oklahoma, dating back to its inception in 1965. The foundation supports Catholic schools by sponsoring the Annual Golf Classic. In addition, the foundation provides more than 50 educational grants to Catholic schools and parishes within the archdiocese and also administers the Catholic Schools Opportunity Scholarship Fund that awarded 350 Catholic school scholarships this year. The foundation also provides more than 90 college scholarships to Catholic students in the archdiocese each year.