Meet the diocese’ s 2020-2021 distinguished education principal, teacher and pastor
In its Catholic Schools Week section published Jan. 31, The Catholic Post profiled the 2020-2021 outstanding principal, teacher and pastor named in early November by the diocesan Office of Catholic Schools.
Following are links to the profiles of Jane Barrett of Seton Catholic School in Moline, Distinguished Principal of the Year; Kathy Mazander of St. Mary School in Kickapoo, Distinguished Teacher of the Year; and Father Johndamaseni Zilimu, pastor of Saint John Paul II Parish and Visitation Catholic School in Kewanee, Distinguished Pastor of the Year. They will be honored at a Mass and luncheon with Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, CSC, and Coadjutor Bishop Louis Tylka, as well as all the pastors and principals on May 5
The profiles were written by Jennifer Willems, assistant editor of The Catholic Post.
Distinguished Principal: Jane Barrett feels ‘blessed’ to do what she loves at Seton
MOLINE — Jane Barrett always wanted to be a teacher. She remembers playing school with the neighborhood kids in the basement of her childhood home and even then her mother would say, “I swear you got that kid through first grade!”
“I always loved kids,” she said. “It’s just something that I was very blessed that God put me on this earth to do.”
She has been following her vocation for 40 years and has spent all of those years at Seton Catholic School in Moline. A second grade teacher for eight years and assistant principal for two, she has been the principal since 1991.
For the “skill, passion, love, and dedication” she has given to the Seton Catholic community, Barrett was named the 2020-2021 Distinguished Principal of the Year by the Office of Catholic Schools. She will be honored at a Mass and luncheon with Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, CSC, and Coadjutor Bishop Louis Tylka on Wednesday, May 5.
Distinguished Teacher: Kathy Mazander makes learning fun at St. Mary, Kickapoo
KICKAPOO — Rolling with day-to-day change is something Kathy Mazander is used to. As the teacher of a combined first and second grade classroom at St. Mary School here, keeping lots of little minds engaged at different levels requires fast thinking and an element of fun.
At-home learning over the last year has added a degree of difficulty, but she even found a way to get her students excited to show up by wearing different hats and accessories and using a variety of backgrounds.
“I had so many parents say, ‘The students just want to get on and see what you have on for the day. That was so much fun,’” Mazander told The Catholic Post. “It was fun for me, too.”
It became important for two weeks in January, too, when she and her class had to quarantine after being exposed to the coronavirus.
That ability to adapt and continue to share her knowledge and faith with her students are just part of what makes Mazander the Office of Catholic Schools’ Distinguished Teacher of the Year. She will be recognized at a Mass and luncheon with Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, CSC, and Coadjutor Bishop Louis Tylka on Wednesday, May 5
Distinguished Pastor: Father Zilimu sees Kewanee school as vital to parish
KEWANEE — A longtime passion for mathematics has taught Father Johndamaseni Zilimu many things, including the winning equation for life. The only way things add up for him is to put his vocation to the priesthood and ministry to the people of God first and everything else second.
He uses the same formula for guiding Saint John Paul II Parish and Visitation Catholic School in Kewanee, where he is pastor. For him, the school is a vital parish ministry, like the parish council, finance council and RCIA, and an important way to evangelize in the community.
“I don’t see this parish existing without the Catholic school,” he said. “We work very hard.”
That work has been noticed by the Office of Catholic Schools, which named Father John its 2020-2021 Distinguished School Pastor of the Year. He will be honored at a Mass and luncheon with Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, CSC, and Coadjutor Bishop Louis Tylka on Wednesday, May 5.