Diocese’s ‘distinguished’ educators of year surprised, humbled by recognition

Receiving recognition from the diocesan Office of Catholic Schools for 2018-2019 are, from left: Msgr. Brian Brownsey, pastor of St. Mark Parish in Peoria, Distinguished School Pastor of the Year; Eileen Lohr, longtime kindergarten teacher at St. Vincent de Paul School, Peoria, Distinguished Teacher of the Year; and Randy Simmons, principal of Peoria Notre Dame High School, Distinguished Principal of the Year.

“Distinguished” isn’t a title that sits easily with the pastor, principal and teacher being honored by the diocesan Office of Catholic Schools. In fact, each admitted to being surprised by the honor, which was announced in late December.

“I’m humbled by it,” said Randy Simmons, who was named Distinguished Principal of the Year. He leads Peoria Notre Dame High School, where he also teaches a class each trimester.

“My colleagues here are so good. The people I work with in the diocese — there are so many good principals and so many people doing exactly what they’re supposed to be doing the right way,” he told The Catholic Post. “Talk about humbling.”

Also receiving top honors from the Office of Catholic Schools are Eileen Lohr, longtime kindergarten teacher at St. Vincent de Paul School in Peoria, who was named Distinguished Teacher of the Year, and Msgr. Brian Brownsey, pastor of St. Mark Parish in Peoria, who is the Distinguished School Pastor of the Year for 2018-2019.

All three will be recognized at a Mass celebrated by Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, CSC, on May 8. A luncheon for all school pastors, chaplains and principals will follow.

To read profiles of the three honorees, click on their names below:

Msgr. Brian Brownsey

Eileen Lohr

Randy Simmons

 

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