St. Justin Martyr recognizes 2011 Distinguished Teacher of the Year

Mary OConnell

Mary O’Connell

The students, faculty and staff of St. Justin Martyr School in Sunset Hills are congratulating Mary O’Connell, who received the National Catholic Education Association’s (NCEA) Distinguished Teacher of the Year Award in a ceremony at the NCEA Convention in New Orleans in April.

O’Connell, a third grade teacher at St. Justin Martyr School, received the award for her use of the best teaching practices and her leadership in all aspects of the Catholic faith life, according to a news release.

“I’m honored to receive such a prestigious award,” O’Connell stated. “I have been blessed to work at such an innovative school with such an amazing faculty and staff. I have had the opportunity to work for two wonderful principals who have allowed me to be creative in my teaching.”

Beth Bartolotta, St. Justin Martyr principal, stated, “I have had the honor of working with Mary O’Connell at St. Justin for 12 years. Dr. O’Connell is held in high regard by all with whom she works, as a great model of a master teacher and visionary leader. Mary’s contributions to the academic environment of our school are astounding, but it is her contributions to the faith community that contribute the most to our mission as a Catholic school. Mary is a gift to all who are blessed to work with her.”

O’Connell’s 13 years of education experience include one year at St. Joan of Arc and 12 years at St. Justin Martyr School teaching second and third grade. She received a bachelor’s degree in education and a master’s degree in special education from St. Louis University. She recently also received a doctorate degree with emphasis on curriculum and instruction from the university.