Our Diocese of Dallas Catholic Schools have again been singled out for special recognition by the National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA). A Plano pastor and a Dallas parochial school teacher have been selected for the Distinguished Pastor and Distinguished Teacher Awards for 2013.
Father Clifford Smith, pastor of St. Mark the Evangelist Parish in Plano has been named as one of ten pastors from across the country to receive The Distinguished Pastor Award. The award is presented to honor pastors who have given outstanding support to Catholic elementary education. The award was established by the NCEA in 2007 to acknowledge the outstanding contributions and leadership of pastors. Without their support, Catholic schools could not continue.
His nomination noted that “because of Father Smith efforts education moves from the student population to that of adults as we view him preparing and presenting high quality classes for catechesis requirements in the Diocese of Dallas. These classes provide a common ground where catechists, parish and school can gather for their ongoing education.”
Father Smith has served as pastor of St. Mark Parish since 2005. He is the first pastor from the Diocese of Dallas to be so honored.
Jodi Sheffield, a teacher at St. Rita School in Dallas has been awarded the Sr. Miriam Joseph Farrell, PBVM – Distinguished Teachers Award. The award is presented to one teacher in each of the twelve geographic regions into which the NCEA is divided. The NCEA acknowledges that in honoring these twelve teachers each year, it also honors the tens of thousands of outstanding teachers in all Catholic elementary schools.
Jodi, who has been a science teacher at St. Rita School since 1999, was nominated because she makes science exciting and come alive for her students. Jodi not only teaches students, she also has taught her peers as a KERA teacher and workshop presenter and a director of a summer program for gifted and talented students.She joins a group of eight teachers from diocesan schools who have been honored in previous years with this prestigious award.
Father Smith and Jodi Sheffield will receive their awards at the NCEA Convention in Houston next April.
I join Sister Gloria Cain, SSND, superintendent of schools, in congratulating both honorees whose efforts have added so much to the quality of Catholic education in the Diocese of Dallas.