2 longtime educators recognized

There are few days when Barbara Shrode isn’t happy, but she was especially looking forward to last Wednesday. That’s the day the students walked through the doors of St. Paul’s School in Macomb to begin a new academic year.

“I always think in terms of ‘I can’t wait to get everyone back in and see their faces’ every year,” said Shrode, who was honored as the 2008 Distinguished Principal of the Diocese of Peoria at the Opening Principals Mass on Aug. 14. “It’s been too quiet here.”

Also recognized at the Mass, which was held at St. Mary’s Church in Kickapoo, was Msgr. William Watson, pastor of St. Thomas the Apostle Parish in Peoria Heights. He was named the 2008 Distinguished Pastor of the Diocese of Peoria for his 26 years of support for St. Thomas School and his work as the first presi dent of Peoria Notre Dame High School.

Both the principal and the pastor were quick to draw others into the limelight with them when they talked to The Catholic Post.

“I appreciate the recognition of course, but I think there are many other pastors in the diocese who could be recognized for doing outstanding work,” said Msgr. Watson, who was named president of Peoria Notre Dame last year.

“We have an outstanding administration there,” he said, singling out Charlie Roy as principal and Dr. Susie Cicciarelli as his executive assistant. In addition, he praised the school’s board of trustees as “wonderful people who are enthusiastic about the future of Peoria Notre Dame.”

Shrode, who said taking the job as principal of St. Paul’s School in 1997 was “the best move I ever made,” told The Post that her job is a joy because she is surrounded by a pastor, faculty and parents who are all on the same page.

“We have a faculty here that has made a long-term commitment to Catholic education. All but one teacher has been here between 11 and 43 years,” she said. “They make me look outstanding because of what they’ve brought.”

She credits Msgr. Richard Pricco, who has been pastor of St. Paul’s Parish for 32 years, with providing the solid foundation on which everything is built.

“To have the same guiding force all the time — he’s able to keep all of us on track,” Shrode said.

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