The Lewis Award Committee is pleased to announce the Finalists for the 2019–2020 Monsignor Gerald L. Lewis Award for Excellence in Teaching:
- Nicole Adkins, St. Raphael Catholic School, Raleigh
- Tina Isenbarger, St. Ann Catholic School, Fayetteville
- David Ratte, Infant of Prague Catholic School, Jacksonville
The Recipient of the Award will be selected following February onsite classroom visitations and interviews by the Committee.
The following introduction to the Finalists includes their response when asked to describe their personal feelings and beliefs about teaching and a partial list of their involvement in school, church and community.
Nicole Adkins’s teaching career spans 17 years. She has taught at St. Raphael Catholic School in Raleigh for the past 10 as a Sixth and Seventh Grade Language Arts teacher. Ms. Adkins believes
“Teaching is my calling from God. These children have changed my life profoundly and I am better for it. Each challenge I face, is God showing me how to be better, stronger. I teach to get kids to realize that books can connect us, change us, bring out emotions we didn’t know we had, teach us empathy and love. It is about educating the whole child and making a connection to their lives.”
Ms. Adkins was a member of the Diocesan 2018 English, Language Arts Revision Committee; the Head Volleyball Coach since 2017 and the Assistant Coach prior to that; a New Teacher Mentor; initiated Time Management/Study Skills Seminars for parents and students; founded SRCS Teacher Book Club; assists with the Middle School Battle of the Books Team; a member of the Poetry Contest Committee; the Chair of the Sunshine Committee; a member of weekly Christian Book Club; and a Raleigh Volleyball Parent Volunteer.
Tina Isenbarger has 19 years of teaching experience, with the last 10 years at St. Ann Catholic School in Fayetteville. She currently teaches Fifth Grade. Ms. Isenbarger personally believes that
“all students can learn. Not all students apply themselves, move at a steady pace, or work on grade level, but they are all capable of learning. Finding the internal motivation and appropriate learning style within each child is my goal in aiding them to meet their academic goals. ‘If you can’t learn the way I teach, then I’ll teach the way you learn’.”
Ms. Isenbarger has been the Coordinator for St. Ann’s accreditation process since 1998; a member of the Parent Support Team; the Chair of the School Advisory Committee since 2014; the Rice Bowl Coordinator since 2017; the Talent Show Coordinator since 2017; the Chair of the Scholastic Book Fair since 2010; the Seminarian Pen-Pal Coordinator since 2015; the School Box Tops Coordinator; a volunteer at the Neighborhood Youth Center; and a Eucharistic Minister.
David Ratte has taught Eighth Grade Religion and Middle School Science for the past 4 years at Infant of Prague Catholic School. Mr. Ratte believes
“My best self is as a mentor and father figure; building a unique holy relationship is the key to unlocking learning potential. Many middle school children have an opaque image of themselves, family, and of their intended relationship with God. Some accept mediocrity whereas others humbly and earnestly pursue all that God intends for them. I want each child to realize their best self and embrace their identity as a Child of God.”
Mr. Ratte established and currently coaches the school’s Science Olympiad team, who won both regional and state awards the past two years; the Assistant Coach for the Girls’ Basketball Team; a member of the School Safety Committee that recently published a campus-wide Crisis Plan in coordination with local law enforcement; the past Grand Knight of the Knights of Columbus Council 13220; and Sacristan, Lector, and Extraordinary Minister of the Eucharist for Infant of Prague Parish.
In February, the Lewis Award website will feature each of the Finalist with pictures of their classrooms.