Alumna Maryann O’Neill receives Bishop Kaffer Award

Lewis University alumna Maryann O’Neill receives the 2012 Bishop Roger L. Kaffer Outstanding Principal Award

Published: March 26, 2012.

(Left to right) Maryann O’Neill, principal of
Montini Catholic High School in Lombard,
receives the 2012 Bishop Roger L. Kaffer Award
from Dr. Jan Mines, dean of Lewis University
College of Education.

Lewis University’s College of Education presented the 2012 Bishop Roger L. Kaffer Award to Maryann O’Neill, principal of Montini Catholic High School in Lombard and Lewis University alumna, March 22 on the university’s main campus in Romeoville.

“For her outstanding dedication to the education profession and school leadership, and for her commitment to the finest Christian ideals of education, Lewis University’s College of Education is honored to present this award to Maryann O’Neill,” Dr. Jan Mines, dean of the College of Education, commented.

Under O’Neill’s leadership for the last eight years, Montini Catholic High School has become a place where Catholic values of service and charity are as important as academic excellence. O’Neill said, “I believe that we need to educate the entire child—heart, mind, spirit and body. We do this by ‘touching hearts.’ To touch hearts means that we must know our students, accept them for who they are, and where they are in their lives and in their education, and work to move them forward.”

Community outreach is an important part of the experience at the Lasallian institution. Students are called to action and participate in mission trips, service projects and days of service. O’Neill added, “I believe that our vocation is to instill in them a desire for knowledge, to help them develop an awareness of their talents, to deepen their relationship with God and a deep rooted sense of service and responsibility for others.”

As a social justice advocate and a compassionate school leader, O’Neill also has energetically worked towards accommodating the needs of all learners especially those most in need. She also led improvements in various areas, such as in curriculum, technology and facilities. “Christ must be at the center of all we do and we must ensure that our mission is reflected in the classroom as well as the athletic fields, in our policies and in our extra-curriculars, in the way we work with our colleagues and those entrusted in our care,” O’Neill stated.

O’Neill has been an educator for 26 years. O’Neill is a member of the National Catholic Education Association, the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, the National Association of Secondary School Principals, the Diocese of Joliet High School Principals Council, the Lasallian Mission Council, and the Lasallian Association for Secondary Schools Chief Administrators Planning Committee.

The Bishop Roger L. Kaffer Award is in honor of the auxiliary bishop that served in many roles as an educational leader during his more than 50 years of priesthood in the Joliet Diocese. He served as rector of St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Romeoville before becoming principal of Providence Catholic High School in New Lenox, where he revitalized the school and personally met with each school family.

The College of Education at Lewis University offers degree programs and workshops for undergraduate and graduate students, as well as working practitioners. The majority of full-time faculty teaches undergraduate and graduate courses. All programs are offered on the University’s main campus in Romeoville. Accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE), the College updates existing programs as needed in accord with the Illinois State Board of Education standards.

Lewis University is a Catholic university offering distinctive undergraduate and graduate programs to nearly 6,500 traditional and adult students. Lewis offers multiple campus locations, online degree programs, and a variety of formats that provide accessibility and convenience to a growing student population. Sponsored by the De La Salle Christian Brothers, Lewis prepares intellectually engaged, ethically grounded, globally aware, and socially responsible graduates. The ninth largest private not-for-profit university in Illinois, Lewis has been nationally recognized by The Princeton Review and U.S. News & World Report.

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